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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

iz'-ra-el (bene yisra'el): A very common term in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and it refers to the Israelites as the descendants of a common ancestor, Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel (see Genesis 32:24-32). It was customary to designate the members of the various tribes as the children of the one from whom the tribe originated (see Numbers 1:20-43 Ezra 2:3-61), and it was natural that the people who boasted of Israel as their ancestor should be designated as his children. The first reference to the descendants of Jacob is found in the account of the changing of Jacob's name to Israel, and the purpose is to connect them with the experience in Jacob's life which led to the change in his name: "Therefore the children of Israel eat not the sinew of the hip, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew of the hip." At the time when this was written "the children of Israel" was a phrase that was commonly applied to the Israelites. In 2 Kings 17:34 they are called "the children of Jacob," and this occurs in connection with the account of the changing of Jacob's name to Israel and is intended to connect them closely with their father Jacob, who was favored of God.

After a time, it is quite likely that the phrase "children of Israel" lost its peculiar significance and was simply one of the popular terms designating the inhabitants of Palestine, but at first it was intended to connect these people with their ancestor Jacob whose name was changed to Israel. The Jews of the New Testament times connected themselves with Abraham rather than with Jacob (see John 8:39 Romans 9:7 Galatians 3:7, tekna, or, huioi Abraam).

A. W. Fortune



1. Sources

(1) The Old Testament

(2) Josephus

(3) The Monuments

2. Religious Character of the History


1. Original Home

2. Ethnographical Origin

3. Patriarchal Origins and History

(1) Patriarchal Conditions-Genesis 14

(2) Ideas of God

(3) Descent into Egypt


1. Israel in Egypt

(1) Chronology

(2) Moses

2. Historical Character of the Exodus (1) Egyptian Version of the Exodus

(2) Geographical Matters

(3) The Wilderness Sojourn

(4) Entrance into Canaan


1. General Character of Period

2. The Different Judges

3. Chronology of the Period

4. Loose Organization of the People


1. Samuel

2. The Kingdom of Saul

3. David

4. Solomon

5. Division of the Kingdom

6. Sources of the History of the Kingdom

7. Chronological Matters


1. Contrasts and Vicissitudes of the Kingdoms

2. The Successive Reigns

3. The Literary Prophets


1. Influence of the Exile

2. Daniel

3. Elephantine Papyri


1. Career of Cyrus

2. First Return under Zerubbabel

(1) Building of the Temple

(2) Haggai and Zechariah

3. Ezra and Nehemiah



1. Spread of Hellenism

2. The Hasmoneans


1. Division of Territory

2. Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans

Later Insurrection of Bar-Cochba

3. Spiritual Life of Period

Appearance of Jesus Christ



1. Sources:

The chief and best source from which we can learn who this people was and what was its history is the Bible itself, especially the Old Testament, which tells us the story of this people from its earliest beginnings.

(1) The Old Testament.

The origins of Israel are narrated in Genesis; the establishment of theocracy, in the other books of the Pentateuch; the entrance into Canaan, in the Book of Joshua; the period preceding the kings, in the Book of Judges; the establishment of the monarchy and its development, in the Books of Samuel, and the opening chapters of the Books of Kings, which latter report also the division into two kingdoms and the history of these down to their overthrow. The Books of Chronicles contain, parallel with the books already mentioned, a survey of the historical development from Adam down to the Babylonian captivity, but confine this account to theocratical center of this history and its sphere. Connected with Chronicles are found the small Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which probably originally constituted a part of Chronicles, but which pass over the Exile and begin at once with the story of the Return. Then, too, these two books contain only certain episodes in the history of the Return, which were of importance for the restoration of the Jewish theocracy, so that the story found in them is anything but complete. With the 5th century B.C. the Biblical narrative closes entirely. For the succeeding centuries we have nothing but some scattered data; but for the 2nd pre-Christian century we have a new source in the Books of the Maccabees, which give a connected account of the struggles and the rule of the Asmoneans, which reach, however, only from 174 to 135 B.C.

The historical value of the Old Testament books is all the greater the nearer the narrator or his sources stand in point of time to the events that are recorded; e.g. the contents of the Books of Kings have in general greater value as historical sources than what is reported in the Books of Chronicles, written at a much later period. Yet it is possible that a later chronicler could have made use of old sources which earlier narrators had failed to employ. This is the actual state of affairs in connection with a considerable number of matters reported by the Biblical chroniclers, which supplement the exceedingly meager extracts furnished by the author of the Books of Kings. Then, further, the books of the prophets possess an extraordinary value as historical sources for the special reason that they furnish illustrations of the historical situation and events from the lips of contemporaries. As an example we can refer to the externally flourishing condition of the kingdom of Judah under King Uzziah, concerning which the Books of Kings report practically nothing, but of which Chronicles give details which are confirmed by the testimony of Isaiah.

(2) Josephus.

A connected account of the history of Israel has been furnished by Flavius Josephus. His work entitled Jewish Antiquities, however, as far as trustworthiness is concerned, is again considerably inferior to the Books of Chronicles, since the later traditions of the Jews to a still greater extent influenced his account. Only in those cases in which he could make use of foreign older sources, such as the Egyptian Manetho or Phoenician authors, does he furnish us with valuable material. Then for the last few centuries preceding his age, he fills out a certain want. Especially is he the best authority for the events which he himself passed through and which he reports in his work on the Jewish Wars, even if he is not free from certain personal prejudices (see JOSEPHUS). For the customs and usages of the later Jewish times the traditions deposited in the Talmud are also to be considered. Much less than to Josephus can any historical value be credited to the Alexandrian Jew, Philo. The foreign authors, e.g. the Greek and the Latin historians, contain data only for the story of the nations surrounding Israel, but not for the early history of Israel itself.

(3) The Monuments.

On the other hand, the early history of Israel has been wonderfully enriched in recent times through the testimonies of the monuments. In Palestine itself the finds in historical data and monuments have been, up to the present time, rather meager. Yet the excavations on the sites of ancient Taanach, Megiddo, Jericho, Gezer and Samaria have brought important material to light, and we have reasons to look for further archaeological and literary finds, which may throw a clear light on many points that have remained dark and uncertain. Also in lands round about Palestine, important documents (the Moabite Stone; Phoenician inscriptions) have already been found. Especially have the discovery and interpretation of the monuments found in Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia very materially advanced our knowledge of the history of Israel. Not only has the connection of the history of this people with universal history been clearly illuminated by these finds, but the history of Israel itself has gained in tangible reality. In some detail matters, traditional ideas have given way to clearer conceptions; e.g. the chronology of the Old Testament, through Assyriological research, has been set on a safer foundation. But all in all, these archaeological discoveries have confirmed the confidence that has been placed in the Biblical historical sources.

2. Religious Character of the History:

It is true that the rules applied to profane history cannot, without modification, be applied to the historical writings of the Hebrews. The Biblical narrators are concerned about something more than the preservation of historical facts and data. Just as little is it their purpose to glorify their people or their rulers, as this is done on the memorial tablets of the Egyptian the Assyrian, and the Babylonian kings. Looked at merely from the standpoint of profane history, there are many omissions in the Old Testament historical books that are found objectionable. Sometimes whole periods are passed over or treated very briefly. Then, too, the political pragmatism, the secular connection in the movements of the nations and historical events, are often scarcely mentioned. The standpoint of the writer is the religious. This appears in the fact that this history begins with the creation of the world and reports primitive traditions concerning the origin of mankind and their earliest history in the light of the revelation of the God of Israel, and that it makes this national history a member in the general historical development of mankind. Nor was this first done by the author of the Pentateuch in its present shape. Already the different documentary sources found combined in the Pentateuch, namely E (Elohist), J (Jahwist) and P (Priestly Code), depict the history of Israel according to the plan which the Creator of the world had with this people. Also, when they narrate the national vicissitudes of Israel, the writers are concerned chiefly to exhibit clearly the providential guidance of God. They give special prominence to those events in which the hand of God manifests itself, and describe with full detail the lives of those agents of whom Yahweh made use in order to guide His people, such as Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon and others. But it is not the glory of these men themselves that the writers aim to describe, but rather their importance for the spiritual and religious greatness of Israel. Let us note in this connection only the extreme brevity with which the politically successful wars of David are reported in 2 Samuel; and how fragmentary are the notices in which the author of the Books of Kings reports the reigns of the different kings; and how briefly he refers for all the other details of these kings to books that, unfortunately, have been lost for us. But, on the other hand, how full are the details when the Bible gives us its account of the early history of a Samuel or of a David, in which the providential guidance and protection of Yahweh appear in such a tangible form; or when it describes the building of the temple by Solomon, so epoch-making for the religious history of Israel, or the activity of such leading prophets as Elijah and Elisha. Much less the deeds of man than the deeds of God in the midst of His people constitute theme of the narrators. These facts explain, too, the phenomenal impartiality, otherwise unknown in ancient literatures, with which the weaknesses and the faults of the ancestors and kings of Israel are reported by the Biblical writers, even in the case of their most revered kings, or with which even the most disgraceful defeats of the people are narrated.

It cannot indeed be denied that this religious and fundamental characteristic is not found to the same degree in all the books and sources. The oldest narratives concerning Jacob, Joseph, the Judges, David and others reveal a naive and childlike naturalness, while in the Books of Chronicles only those things have been admitted which are in harmony with the regular cult. The stories of a Samson, Jephthah, Abimelech, Barak, and others impress us often as the myths or stories of old heroes, such as we find in the traditions of other nations. But the author of the Book of Judges, who wrote the introduction to the work, describes the whole story from the standpoint of edification. And when closely examined, it is found that the religious element is not lacking, even in the primitive and naive Old Testament narrative. This factor was, from the outset, a unique characteristic of the people and its history. To this factor Israel owed its individuality and existence as a separate people among the nations. But in course of time it became more and more conscious of its mission of being the people of Yahweh on earth, and it learned to understand its entire history from this viewpoint. Accordingly, any account of Israel's history must pay special attention to its religious development. For the significance of this history lies for us in this, that it constitutes the preparation for the highest revelation in Christ Jesus. In its innermost heart and kernel it is the history of the redemption of mankind. This it is that gives to this history its phenomenal character. The persons and the events that constitute this history must not be measured by the standards of everyday life. If in this history we find the providential activities of the living God operative in a unique way, this need not strike us as strange, since also the full fruit of this historical development, namely the appearance of Jesus Christ, transcends by far the ordinary course of human history. On the other hand, this history of Israel is not to be regarded as a purely isolated factor. Modern researches have shown how intimately this history was interwoven with that of other nations. Already, between the religious forms of the Old Testament and those of other Semitic peoples, there have been found many relations. Religious expressions and forms of worship among the Israelites often show in language and in cult a similarity to those of the ancient Canaanites, the Phoenicians, the Syrians, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. But it is a mistake to believe that the history and the religion of Israel are merely an offspring of the Babylonian. As the Israelites clung tenaciously to their national life, even when they were surrounded by powerful nations, or were even scattered among these nations, as in the Exile, thus too their religion, at least in its official representatives, has been able at all times to preserve a very high originality and independence under the influence of the Divine Spirit, who had filled it.

I. Origins of Israel in Pre-Mosaic Times.

1. Original Home:

The Israelites knew at all times that Canaan was not their original home, but that their ancestors had immigrated into this land. What was their earlier and earliest home? Tradition states that they immigrated from Haran in the upper Euphrates valley. But it is claimed that they came to Haran from Ur of the Chaldees, i.e. from a city in Southern Babylonia, now called Mugheir. This city of Ur, now well known from Babylonian inscriptions, was certainly not the original home of the ancestors of Israel. They rather belonged to a purely Semitic tribe, which had found its way from Northern Arabia into these districts. A striking confirmation of this view is found in a mural picture on the rock-tombs of Benihassan in Upper Egypt. The foreigners, of whom pictures are here given (from the time of the XIIth Dynasty), called Amu, namely Bedouins from Northern Arabia or from the Sinai peninsula, show such indisputable Jewish physiognomies that they must have been closely related to the stock of Abraham. Then, too, the leader of the caravan, Ebsha`a (Abishua), has a name formed just like that of Abraham. When, in later times, Moses fled to the country of the Midianites, he doubtless was welcomed by such tribal relatives.

2. Ethnographical Origin:

The Israelites at all times laid stress on their ethnographical connection with other nations. They knew that they were intimately related to a group of peoples who have the name of Hebrews. But they traced their origin still farther back to the tribal founder, Shem. Linguistics and ethnology confirm, in general, the closer connection between the Semitic tribes mentioned in Genesis 10:21 ff. Undeniable is this connection in the cases of Assur, Aram, and the different Arabian tribes. A narrower group of Semites is called Hebrews. This term is used in Genesis in a wider sense of the word than is the case in later times, when it was employed as a synonym for Israel. According to its etymology, the word signified "those beyond," those who live on the other side of the river or have come over from the other side. The river meant is not the Jordan, but the Euphrates. About the same time that the ancestors of Israel were immigrating into Canaan and Egypt, other tribes also emigrated westward and were called, by the Canaanites and by the Egyptians, `ibhrim. This term is identical with Chabiri, found in the Tell el-Amarna Letters, in which complaint is made about the inroads of such tribes. The Israelites cannot have been meant here, but related tribes are. Possibly the Egyptian Apriu is the same word.

3. Patriarchal Origins and History:

The Israelites declared that they were descended from a particular family. On account of the patriarchal characcter of their old tribal life, it is not a matter of doubt that, as a fact, the tribe did grow out of a single family. The tribal father, Abraham, was without a doubt the head of the small tribe, which through its large family of children developed into different tribes. Only we must not forget that such a tribe could rapidly be enlarged by receiving into it also serfs and clients (compare Genesis 14:14). These last-mentioned also regarded the head of the tribe as their father and considered themselves as his "sons," without really being his descendants. Possibly the tribe that immigrated first to Haran and from there to Canaan was already more numerous than would seem to be the case according to tradition, which takes into consideration only the leading personalities. Secondly, we must remember that the Israelites, because of their patriarchal life, had become accustomed to clothe all the relations of nations to nations in the scheme of the family. In this way such genealogies of nations as are found in Genesis 10 and 11 originated. Here peoples, cities and countries have also been placed in the genealogies, without the author himself thinking of individual persons in this connection, who had borne the names, e.g. of Mizraim (Egypt), Gush (Ethiopia), etc., and were actually sons of Ham. The purpose of the genealogy in this form is to express only the closer or more remote relationship or connection to a group of nations. Genesis 25:1 ff also is a telling example, showing how independently these groups are united. A new wife (Keturah) does not at this place fit into the family history of Abraham. But the writer still wants to make mention of an Arabian group, which was also related to Israel by blood, but in fact stood more distant from the Israelites than did the Ishmaelites. Out of this systematic further development of the living tradition, however, one difficulty arises. It is not in all places easy, indeed not always possible, to draw the line between what is reliable tradition and what is a freer continuation. But it is a misinterpretation of the historical situation, when the entire history of the patriarchs is declared to be incredible, and when in such sharply defined personalities as Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and others, only personifications of tribes are found, the later history of which tribes is said to be embodied in the lives of these men; e.g. the name Abraham cannot have been the impersonal name of a tribe or of a god. It is found as the name of a person on old Babylonian tablets (Abu ramu); but originally in the nomadic tribe was doubtless pronounced 'abhi ram, i.e. "My father (God) is exalted." The same is true of the name Jacob (really Jakob-el); compare Joseph (Joseph-el), Ishmael, and others, which find their analogies in old Arabian names.

(1) Patriarchal Conditions-Genesis 14.

Further, the conditions of life which are presupposed in the history of the Patriarchs are in perfect agreement with those which from the Tell el-Amarna Letters we learn existed in Canaan. While formerly it was maintained that it would have been impossible for a single tribe to force its way into Canaan at that time when the country was thickly populated, it is now known that at that very time when the ancestors of the Israelites entered, similar tribes also found their way into the land, sometimes in a peaceable way, sometimes by force. Egypt for the time being had control of the land, but its supremacy was at no place very strong. And the `ibhrim, as did others who forced their way into the country, caused the inhabitants much trouble. Especially does Genesis 14, the only episode in which a piece of universal history finds its way into the story of the tribal ancestors, turn out to be a document of great value, which reflects beautifully the condition of affairs in Asia. Such expeditions for conquest in the direction of the Mediterranean lands were undertaken at an early period by Babylonian rulers, Sargon I of Akkad and his son Naram Sin. The latter undertook an expedition to the land of Magan along the exact way of the expedition described in Genesis 14, this taking place in the days of Amraphel, i.e. Hammurabi. The fact that the latter was himself under an Elamitic superior is in perfect agreement with the story of the inscriptions, according to which the famous Hammurabi of Babylon had first freed himself from the supremacy of Elam. The fact that Hammurabi, according to accepted chronology, ruled shortly after the year 2000 B.C., is also in agreement with Biblical chronology, which places Abraham in this very time. These expeditions into the country Martu, as the Babylonians call Syria, had for their purpose chiefly to secure booty and to levy tribute. That the allied kings themselves took part in this expedition is not probable. These were punitive expeditions undertaken with a small force.

Genesis 14 seems to be a translation of an old cuneiform tablet. As a rule the stories of the patriarchal age for a long time were handed down orally, and naturally were modified to a certain extent. Then, too, scholars have long since discovered different sources, out of which the story in its present form has been compiled. This fact explains some irregularities in the story: e.g. the chronological data of the document the Priestly Code (P), which arranges its contents systematically, do not always harmonize with the order of events as reported by the other two leading documents, the Elohist (E) and the Jahwist (Jahwist), the first of which is perhaps the Ephraimitic and the second the Judaic version of the story. But, under all circumstances, much greater than the difference are the agreements of the sources. They contain the same picture of this period, which certainly has not been modified to glorify the participants. It is easily seen that the situation of the fathers, when they were strangers in the land, was anything but comfortable. A poetical or perfectly fictitious popular account would have told altogether different deeds of heroism of the founder of the people. The weaknesses and the faults of the fathers and mothers in the patriarchal families are not passed over in silence. But the fact that Yahweh, whom they trusted at all times, helped them through and did not suffer them to be destroyed, but in them laid the foundation for the future of His people, is the golden cord that runs through the whole history. And in this the difference between the individual characters finds a sharp expression; e.g. Abraham's magnanimity and tender feeling of honor in reference to his advantage in worldly matters find their expression in narratives which are ascribed to altogether different sources, as Genesis 13:8 ff (Jahwist); 14:22 (special source); 23:7 (P). In what an altogether different way Jacob insists upon his advantage! This consistency in the way in which the different characters are portrayed must awaken confidence in the historical character of the narratives. Then, too, the harmony with Egyptian manners and customs in the story of Joseph, even in its minutest details, as these have been emphasized particularly by the Egyptologist Ebers, speaks for this historical trustworthiness.

(2) Ideas of God.

Further, the conception of God as held by these fathers was still of a primitive character, but it contains the elements of the later religious development (see ISRAEL, RELIGION OF).

(3) Descent into Egypt.

During a long period of famine the sons of Jacob, through Divine providence, which made use of Joseph as an instrument, found refuge in Egypt, in the marshes of which country along the lower Nile Semitic tribes had not seldom had their temporary abodes. The land of Coshen in the Northeast part of the Delta, Ed. Naville (The Shrine of Saft-el-Henneh and the Land of Goshen, London, 1887) has shown to be the region about Phakusa (Saft-el-Henneh). These regions had at that time not yet been made a part of the strictly organized and governed country of Egypt, and could accordingly still be left to such nomadic tribes. For the sons of Jacob were still wandering shepherds, even if they did, here and there, after the manner of such tribes, change to agricultural pursuits (Genesis 26:12). If, as is probable, at that time a dynasty of Semitic Hyksos was ruling in lower Egypt, it is all the more easily understood that kindred tribes of this character were fond of settling along these border districts. On account of the fertility of the amply watered districts, men and animals could increase rapidly, and the virile tribe could, in the course of a few centuries, grow into a powerful nation. One portion of the tribes pastured their flocks back and forth on the prairies; another builded houses for themselves among the Egyptians and engaged in agricultural pursuits and in gardening (Numbers 11:5). Egyptian arts and trades also found their way among this people, as also doubtless the art of writing, at least in the case of certain individuals. In this way their sojourning in this country became a fruitful factor in the education of the people. This stay explains in part the fact that the Israelites at all times were more receptive of culture and were more capable than their kinsmen, the Edomites, Ammonites and Moabites, and others in this respect. Moses, like Joseph, had learned all the mysteries of Egyptian wisdom. On the other hand, the sojourn in this old, civilized country was a danger to the religion of the people of Israel. According to the testimony of Joshua 24:14 Ezekiel 20:7 ff; 23:8, 19, they adopted many heathen customs from their neighbors. It was salutary for them, that the memory of this sojourn was embittered for them by hard oppression.

II. Nationality under Moses.

1. Israel in Egypt:

It is reported in Exodus 18 that a new Pharaoh ascended the throne, who knew nothing of Joseph. This doubtless means that a new dynasty came into power, which adopted a new policy in the treatment of the Semitic neighbors. The expulsion of the Hyksos had preceded this, and the opposition to the Semitics had become more acute. The new government developed a strong tendency to expansion in the direction of the Northeast. Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the laws of the empire were vigorously enforced in these border districts and that an end was made to the liberties of the unwelcome shepherd tribes. This led to constantly increasing measures of severity. In this way the people became more and more unhappy and finally were forced to immigrate.

(1) Chronology.

It is still the current conviction that the Pharaoh of the oppression was Rameses II, a king who was extraordinarily ambitious of building, whose long reign is by Eduard Meyer placed as late as 1310 to 1244 B.C. His son Merenptah would then be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. But on this supposition, Biblical chronology not only becomes involved in serious difficulties, since then the time of the Judges must be cut down to unduly small proportions, but certain definite data also speak in favor of an earlier date for the Exodus of Israel. Merenptah boasts in an inscription that on an expedition to Syria he destroyed the men of Israel (which name occurs here for the first time on an Egyptian monument). And even the father of Rameses II, namely Seti, mentions Asher among those whom he conquered in Northern Palestine, that is, in the district afterward occupied by this tribe. These data justify the view that the Exodus already took place in the time of the XVIIIth Dynasty, a thing in itself probable, since the energetic rulers of this dynasty naturally have inaugurated a new method of treating this province. The oppression of Israel would then, perhaps, be the work of Thethroes III (according to Meyer, 1501-1447 B.C.), and the Exodus would take place under his successor, Amenophis II. In harmony with this is the claim of Manetho, who declares that the "Lepers," in whom we recognize the Israelites (see below), were expelled by King Amenophis.

The length of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, according to Genesis 15:13 (P), was in round numbers 400 years; more exactly, according to Exodus 12:40 ff (P), 430 years. But the last-mentioned passage in Septuagint reads, "the sojourn of the sons of Jacob, when they lived in Egypt and in the land of Canaan." (The same reading is found in the Samaritan text, only that the land of Canaan precedes that of Egypt.) Since, according to this source (P), the Patriarchs lived 215 years in Canaan, the sojourn in Egypt would be reduced also 215 years. This is the way in which the synagogue reckons (compare Galatians 3:17), as also Josephus (Ant., II, xv, 2). In favor of this shorter period appeal is made to the genealogical lists, which, however, because they are incomplete, cannot decide the matter. In favor of a longer duration of this sojourn we can appeal, not only to Genesis 15:13 Septuagint has the same!), but also to the large number of those who left Egypt according to Numbers 1 and 26 (P), even if the number of 600,000 men there mentioned, which would presuppose a nation of about two million souls, is based on a later calculation and gives us an impossible conception of the Exodus.

(2) Moses.

While no account has been preserved concerning the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, the history of the Exodus itself, which signifies the birth of Israel as a nation, is fully reported. In this crisis Moses is the prophetical mediator through whom the wonderful deed of God is accomplished. All the deeds of God, when interpreted by this prophet, become revelations for the people. Moses himself had no other authority or power than that which was secured for him through his office as the organ of God. He was the human instrument to bring about the synthesis between Israel and Yahweh for all times. He had, in doing this, indeed proclaimed the old God of the fathers, but under the new, or at any rate hitherto to the people unknown, name of Yahweh, which is a characteristic mark of the Mosaic revelations to such an extent, that the more accurate narrators (E and P) begin to make use of this name only from this period of time on. In the name of this absolute sovereign, God, Moses claims liberty for Israel, since this people was Yahweh's firstborn (Exodus 4:22). The contest which Moses carries on in the name of this God with Pharaoh becomes more and more a struggle between this God and the gods of Egypt, whose earthly representative Pharaoh is. The plagues which come over Egypt are all founded on the natural conditions of the country, but they occur in such extraordinary strength and rapidity at Moses' prediction, and even appear at his command, that they convince the people, and finally Pharaoh himself, of the omnipotence of this God on the soil of this country. In the same way the act of deliverance at the Red Sea can be explained as the cooperation of natural causes, namely wind and tide.

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1. The Two Kingdoms

2. The Ist Dynasty

3. The IInd Dynasty

4. Civil War


1. The IIIrd Dynasty

2. World-Politics

3. Battle of Karkar

4. Loss of Territory

5. Reform of Religion

6. Revolution

7. The IVth Dynasty

8. Renewed Prosperity

9. Anarchy


1. Loss of Independence

2. Decline

3. Extinction

4. Summary


I. The First Period.

1. The Two Kingdoms:

The circumstances leading up to the foundation of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, or the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes, have been detailed under the heading KINGDOM OF JUDAH. From a secular point of view it would be more natural to regard the latter as an offshoot from the former, rather than the converse. But not only is the kingdom of Judah of paramount importance in respect of both religion and literature, but its government also was in the hands of a single dynasty, whereas that of the Northern Kingdom changed hands no less than 8 times, during the two and a half centuries of its existence. Moreover, the Southern Kingdom lasted about twice as long as the other.

2. The Ist Dynasty:

No sooner had Jeroboam I been elected the first ruler of the newly founded state than he set about managing its affairs with the energy for which he was distinguished (1 Kings 11:28). To complete the disruption he established a sanctuary in opposition to that of Jerusalem (Hosea 8:14), with its own order of priests (2 Chronicles 11:14; 2 Chronicles 13:9), and founded two capital cities, Shechem on the West and Penuel on the East of the Jordan (1 Kings 12:25). Peace seems to have been maintained between the rival governments during the 17 years' reign of Rehoboam, but on the accession of his son Abijah war broke out (1 Kings 15:6, 7 2 Chronicles 13:3 if). Shortly afterward Jeroboam died and was succeeded by his son Nadab, who was a year later assassinated, and the Ist Dynasty came to an end, after an existence of 23 years, being limited, in fact, to a single reign.

3. The IInd Dynasty:

The turn of the tribe of Issachar came next. They had not yet given a ruler to Israel; they could claim none of the judges, but they had taken their part at the assembling of the tribes under Deborah and Barak of Naphtali. Baasha began his reign of 24 years by extirpating the house of his predecessor (1 Kings 15:29), just as the `Abbasids annihilated the Umeiyads. The capital was now Tirzah (1 Kings 14:17 Songs 6:4), a site not yet identified. His Judean contemporary was ASA (which see), who, like his father Abijah, called in the aid of the Syrians against the Northern Kingdom. Baasha was unequal to the double contest and was forced to evacuate the ground he had gained. His son Elah was assassinated after a reign of a year, as he himself had assassinated the son of the founder of the preceding dynasty, and his entire family and adherents were massacred (1 Kings 16:11).

4. Civil War:

The name of the assassin was Zimri, an officer of the charioteers, of unknown origin and tribe. But the kingship was always elective, and the army chose Omri, the commander-in-chief, who besieged and took Tirzah, Zimri setting the palace on fire by his own hand and perishing in the flames. A second pretender, Tibni, a name found in Phoenician and Assyrian, of unknown origin, sprang up. He was quickly disposed of, and security of government was reestablished.

II. Period of the Syrian Wars.

1. The IIId Dynasty:

The founder of the new dynasty was Omri. By this time the Northern Kingdom was so much a united whole that the distinctions of tribe were forgotten. We do not know to what tribe Omri and his successors belonged. With Omri the political sphere of action of Israel became wider than it had been before, and its internal affairs more settled. His civil code was in force long after his dynasty was extinct, and was adopted in the Southern Kingdom (Micah 6:16). The capital city, the site of which he chose, has remained a place of human habitation till the present day. Within the last few years, remains of his building have been recovered, showing a great advance in that art from those believed to go back to Rehoboam and Solomon. He was, however, unfortunate in his relations with Syria, having lost some towns and been forced to grant certain trading concessions to his northern neighbors (1 Kings 20:34). But he was so great a king that long after his death the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes was known to the Assyrians as "the house of Omri."

2. World-Politics:

Contemporarily with this dynasty, there occurred a revival of the Phoenician power, which exerted a powerful influence upon the Israelite kings and people, and at the same time the Assyrians once more began to interfere with Syrian politics. The Northern Kingdom now began to play a part in the game of world-politics. There was peace with Judah, and alliance with Phoenicia was cemented by the marriage of Ahab, it seems after his father's death, with Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal (1 Kings 16:31). This led to the erection of a temple in Samaria in which the Tyrian Baal was worshipped, while side by side with it the worship of Yahweh was carried on as before. It seems as if the people had fallen back from the pure monotheism of Moses and David into what is known as henotheism. Against this relapse Elijah protested with final success. Ahab was a wise and skillful soldier, without rashness, but also without decision. He defeated a Syrian coalition in two campaigns (1 Kings 20) and imposed on Ben-hadad the same conditions which the latter had imposed on Omri. With the close of the reign of Asa in Judah, war ceased between the two Israelite kingdoms and the two kings for the first time became friends and fought side by side (1 Kings 22). In the reign of Ahab we note the beginning of decay in the state in regard to personal liberty and equal justice. The tragedy of Naboth's vineyard would not have happened but for the influence of Tyrian ideas, any more than in the case of the famous windmill which stands by the palace of Sans Souci at Potsdam. A further improvement in the art of building took place in this reign. The palace of Ahab, which has recently been recovered by the excavations carded on by the Harvard University Expedition under Dr. G.A. Reisner, shows a marked advance in fineness of workmanship upon that of Omri.

3. Battle of Karkar:

The object of Ben-hadad's attack upon Ahab seems to have been to compel him to join a league founded to resist the encroachments of Assyria upon the countries bordering upon the Mediterranean. The confederates, who were led by Ben-hadad, and of whom Ahab was one, were defeated by Shalmaneser II in the battle of Karkar. The date is known from the inscriptions to have been the year 854-853. It is the first quite certain date in Hebrew history, and from it the earlier dates must be reckoned by working backward. Ahab seems to have seized the moment of Syria's weakness to exact by force the fulfillment of their agreement on the part of Ben-hadad (1 Kings 22).

4. Losses of Territory:

On the other hand, the king of Moab, Mesha, appears to have turned the same disaster to account by throwing off his allegiance to Israel, which dated from the time of David, but had apparently lapsed until it was enforced anew by Omri (MS, ll. 4, but l. 8 makes Omri's reign plus half Ahabs = 40 years). Ahab's son and successor Jehoram (omitting Ahaziah, who is chiefly notable as a devotee of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron), with the aid of Jehoshaphat and his vassal, the king of Edom, attempted to recover his rights, but in vain (2 Kings 3). It may have been in consequence of the failure of this expedition that the Syrians again besieged Samaria and reduced it to great straits (2 Kings 6:24; 2 Kings 7), but the date is uncertain. Jehoram replied with a counter-attack upon the East of the Jordan.

5. Reform of Religion:

It was no doubt owing to his connection with the king of Judah that Jehoram so far modified the worship and ritual as to remove the worst innovations which had come to prevail in the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 3:1-3). But these half-measures did not satisfy the demands of the time, and in the revolution which followed both he and his dynasty were swept away. The dynasty had lasted, according to the Biblical account, less than half a century.

6. Revolution:

The religious reformation, or rather revolution, which swept away almost entirely both royal houses, bears a good deal of resemblance to the Wahhabi rising in Arabia at the beginning of the 18th century. It took its origin from prophetism (1 Kings 19:16), and was supported by the Rechabite Jonadab. The object of the movement headed by Jehu was nominally to revenge the prophets of Yahweh put to death by order of Jezebel, but in reality it was much wider and aimed at nothing less than rooting out the Baal-worship altogether, and enforcing a return to the primitive faith and worship. Just as the Wahhabis went back to Mohammed's doctrine, as contained in the Koran and the Tradition, and as the Rechabites preserved the simplicity of the early desert life, so Jehu went back to the state of things as they were at the foundation of the Northern Kingdom under Jeroboam I.

7. IVth Dynasty:

Jehu's reforms were carried out to the letter, and the whole dynasty of Omri, which was responsible for the innovations, was annihilated like its predecessors. The religious fervor, however, soon subsided, and Jehu's reign ended in disaster. Hazael, whose armies had been exterminated by the forces of Assyria, turned his attention to the eastern territory of Israel. In the turbulent land of Gilead, the home of Elijah, disappointed in its hopes of Jehu, he quickly established his supremacy (2 Kings 10:32). Jehu also appreciated the significance of the victories of Assyria, and was wise enough to send tribute to Shalmaneser II. This was in the year 842. Under his son and successor Jehoahaz the fortunes of Israel continued to decline, until Hazael imposed upon it the most humiliating conditions (Amos 1:3-5 2 Kings 13:1).

8. Renewed Prosperity:

Toward the end of the reign of Jehoahaz, however, the tide began to turn, under the leadership of a military genius whose name has not been recorded (2 Kings 13:5); and the improvement continued, after the death of Hazael, under his son Jehoash (Joash), who even besieged and plundered Jerusalem (2 Kings 14:8). But it was not until the long reign of Jeroboam II, son of Jehoash, that the frontiers of Israel, were, for the first time since the beginning of the kingdom, restored to their ideal limits. Even Damascus and Hamath were subdued (2 Kings 14:28). But the prosperity was superficial. Jeroboam II stood at the head of a military oligarchy, who crushed the great mass of the people under them. The tribune of the plebs at this time was Amos of Tekoa. His Cassandra-like utterances soon fulfilled themselves. The dynasty, which had been founded in blood and had lasted some 90 years, on the accesssion of Jeroboam's son Zachariah gave place to 12 years of anarchy.

9. Anarchy:

Zachariah was almost immediately assassinated by Shallum, who within a month was in turn assassinated by Menahem, a soldier of the tribe of Gad, stationed in Tirzah, to avenge the death of his master. The low social condition of Israel at this time is depicted in the pages of Hos. The atrocities perpetrated by the soldiers of Menahem are mentioned by Josephus (Ant., IX, xi, 1).

III. Decline and Fall.

1. Loss of Independence:

Meantime Pul or Pulu had founded the second Assyrian empire under the name of Tiglath-pileser III. Before conquering Babylonia, he broke the Independ power of the Hittites in the West, and made himself master of the routes leading to the Phoenician seaports. As the eclipse of the Assyrian power had allowed the expansion of Israel under Jeroboam II, so its revival now crushed the independence of the nation forever. Menahem bought stability for his throne by the payment of an immense bribe of 1,000 talents of silver, or USD2,000,000, reckoning the silver talent at USD2,000. The money was raised by means of an assessment of 50 talents each upon all the men of known wealth. The payment of this tribute is mentioned on the Assyrian monuments, the date being 738.

2. Decline:

Menahem reigned 10 years. His son Pekahiah was, soon after his accession, assassinated by one of his own captains, Pekah, son of Remaliah, who established himself, with the help of some Gileadites, as king. He formed an alliance with Rezin of Damascus against Israel, defeating Ahaz in two pitched battles, taking numerous captives, and even reaching the walls of Jerusalem. The result was disastrous to both allies. Ahaz called in the aid of the Assyrians. Tiglath-pileser put an end to the kingdom of Damascus, and deported the inhabitants of Northern and Eastern Palestine. The kingdom of Israel was reduced to the dimensions of the later province of Samaria. Pekah himself was assassinated by Hoshea, who became king under the tutelage of the Assyrian overlord. The depopulated provinces were filled with colonists from the conquered countries of the East. The year is 734 B.C.

3. Extinction:

Hoshea was never an independent king, but the mere vassal of Assyria. He was foolish enough to withhold the annual tribute, and to turn to Egypt for succor. Meanwhile, Tiglath-pileser III had been succeeded by Shalmaneser IV. This king laid siege to Samaria, but died during the siege. The city was taken by his successor Sargon, who had seized the throne, toward the end of the year 722.

4. Summary:

The Northern Kingdom had lasted 240 years, which fall into three periods of about 80 years each, the middle period being the period of the Syrian wars. As it was fully formed when it broke off from the Southern Kingdom, its history shows no development or evolution, but is made up of undulations of prosperity and of decline. It was at its best immediately after its foundation, and again under Jeroboam II. It was strong under Baasha, Omri and Ahab, but generally weak under the other kings. Every change of dynasty meant a period of anarchy, when the country was at the mercy of every invader. The fortunes of Israel depended entirely on those of Assyria. When Assyria was weak, Israel was strong. Given the advance of Assyria, the destruction of Israel was certain. This was necessary and was clearly foreseen by Hosea (9:3, etc.). The wonder is that the little state, surrounded by such powerful neighbors, lasted as long as it did.

See, further, ISRAEL, HISTORY OF, V.


The most important works are Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel (English Translation by Martineau and Glover); Wellhausen, Geschichte Israels; Derenbourg, Essai sur l'histoire. de la Palestine; and there are many more. Ewald is best known to English readers through the medium of Dean Stanley's Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church. Seefurther under CHRONOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; ISRAEL, and articles on individual kings. Thomas Hunter Weir




1. Pre-Mosaic Religion of the Ancestors of Israel

(1) The Traditional View

(2) The Modern View

(3) A Higher Conception of the Deity; 'ilu, 'el

(4) Totemism, Animism, etc.

(5) Conception of God

(6) Cult

2. The Mosaic Covenant with Yahweh

(1) The Covenant-Idea

(2) The Covenant-God, Yahweh

(3) Monotheism of Moses

(4) Impossibility of Representing Yahweh by an Image

(5) Ethical Character of the God of Moses

(6) The Theocracy

(7) The Mosaic Cult

3. The Religion of Israel before the 8th Century B.C.

(1) Decay of Religion in Canaan

(2) The Theocratic Kingdom

(3) Religious Ideals of the Psalms from the Time of David

(4) Wisdom Literature from the Time of Solomon

(5) The Sanctuary on Mt. Zion

(6) The Religion of the Kingdom of Ephraim

(7) Elijah and Elisha

4. Development of the Religion of Israel from the 8th Century B.C. to the Exile

(1) The Writing Prophets

(2) Their Opposition to the Cult

(3) Their Preaching of the Judgment

(4) Their Messianic Promises

(5) Reformations

(6) Destruction of Jerusalem

5. The Babylonian Exile

(1) Spiritual Purification through the Exile

(2) Relations to the Gentile World

6. Religion of the Post-exilic Period

(1) Life under the Law

(2) Hellenism

(3) Pharisees and Sadducees

(4) Essenes

(5) Positive Connections between Judaism and Hellenism

(6) Apocalyptic Literature


1. The Living God

2. The Relation of Man to This God


I. Introduction: Historical Consideration of the Religion of Israel

In former times it was the rule to draw out of the Old Testament its religious contents only for dogmatic purposes, without making any distinction between the different books. These writings were all regarded as the documents of the Divine revelation which had been given to this people alone and not to others. At the present time the first inquiry in the study of these books deals historically with the religious development of the Israelites. This religion was not of a strictly uniform nature, but is characterized by a development and a growth, and in the centuries which are covered by the Old Testament books it has passed through many changes. Then, too, in the different periods of this development there were various religious trends among the people and very different degrees in the extent of their religious knowledge. The common people were at times still entangled in crude heathen ideas, while the bearers of a higher Divine light ranked vastly above them. And even in those times, when these enlightened teachers secured full recognition, there occurred relapses into lower forms of religion on the part of the masses, especially because the influence of the nations surrounding Israel at all times made itself felt in the religious life and thoughts of the latter. And even when the correct teachings were accepted by the people, a malformation of the entire religion could readily occur through a petrifaction of the religious life. It is the business of the science of the history of religion to furnish a correct picture of this development, which in this article can be done only in the form of a sketch.

One of the recent results of the science of the history of religion is the knowledge that the religion of Israel itself, and not merely the corruptions of this religion, stood in a much closer connection with other religions than had in former times been supposed. The wealth of new data from the history of oriental nations lately secured has shown that it is not correct to regard the religion of Israel as an isolated phenomenon, but that considerable light is thrown upon it from analogous facts from surrounding regions. Of especial importance in this respect is the study of Assyrian and Bah antiquities, with their rich and illustrative monuments, and, by the side of these, also those of Egypt; and, further, although these are indeed much smaller in number, the inscriptions and monuments of a number of peoples situated much nearer to Israel and ethnologically more closely connected with them, such as the Moabites, Arameans, Arabians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, and others. For later times, Parsiism is an especially important factor.

These antiquities have shown that between the religion of Israel and the religions of these nations there existed such close connections that a relationship between them cannot be denied. It is indeed true that these similarities are mostly of a formal nature, but they nevertheless point to similar conceptions of the Divine Being and of the relation of man to this Being. We find such connecting links in the cult, in the traditions concerning the creation of the world, concerning the earliest history of man kind, etc.; further, in the conception of what is legally right and of the customs of life; in the ideas concerning death and the world beyond; concerning the souls of men and the supernatural spiritual world, and elsewhere. These analogies and related connections have appeared so pronounced to some savants, especially Assyriologists, that they are willing to find in the religion of the Israelites and Jews only a reflection of the Babylonian, or of what they call the "religion of the ancient Orient." But over against this claim, a closer and deeper investigation shows that a higher world of thought and ideals at all times permeates the Israelite religion and gives to it a unique character and a Divine truth, which is lacking in all other religions and which made Israel's religion capable of becoming the basis of that highest Divine revelation which through Christ came forth from it. We will here briefly sketch the progress of the development of this religion, and then formulate a summary of those characteristics which distinguish it from the other religions.

II. Historical Outline.

1. Pre-Mosaic Religion of the Ancestors of Israel:

(1) The Traditional View.

The sources for this period are meager. Yet what has been reported concerning the religion of the period of the Patriarchs is enough to give us a picture of their conception of the Deity. And this picture is more deserving of acceptance than is the representation of the matter by the traditional dogmatics of the church and also that of those modern scholars who are under the spell of the evolutionary idea, and who undertake to prove in the Biblical history of Israel the complete development from the lowest type of fetishism and animism to the heights of ethical monotheism. The views of the old church teachers were to the effect that the doctrine concerning the one true God had been communicated by God to Adam in its purity and perfection, and by him had been handed through an unbroken chain of true confessors of the faith (Seth, Noah, etc.), down to Abraham. But this view does not find confirmation in the Biblical record. On the contrary, in Joshua 24:2, 15, it is even expressly stated of the ancestors of Abraham that they had worshipped strange gods in Chaldea. And the ancestors of the people, Abraham, Jacob, and others, do not appear on the stage of history with teachable creed, but themselves first learn to know gradually, in the school of life, the God whom they serve, after He has made Himself known to them in extraordinary manifestations. Abraham does not yet know that Yahweh does not demand any human sacrifices. Jacob still has the narrow view, that the place where he has slept is the entrance portal to heaven (Genesis 28:16, 17). Omnipresence and omniscience are not yet attributes which they associate with their idea of the Divinity. They still stand on a simple-minded and primitive stage, as far as their knowledge of the living God is concerned.

(2) The Modern View.

Over against this, modern scholars describe pre-Mosaic Israel as yet entirely entangled in Semitic heathen ideas, and even regard the religion of the people in general, in the post-Mosaic period down to the 8th century B.C., as little better than this, since in their opinion the Yahweh-religion had not thoroughly permeated the ranks of the common people, and had practically remained the possession of the men, while the women had continued to cultivate the ancient customs and views. W. R. Smith and Wellhausen have pointed to customs and ideas of the pre-Islamic Arabs, and S.I. Curtiss to such in the modern life of oriental tribes, which are claimed to have been the property of the most ancient Semitic heathen tribes, and these scholars use these as the key for the ancient Israelite rites and customs. But even if much light is thrown from these sources on the forms of life and cult as depicted by the Scriptures, much caution must be exercised in the use made of this material. In the first place, neither those Arabs of the 6th century A.D., nor their successors of today, can be regarded as "primitive Semites." In the second place, it is a question, even if in the earliest period of Israel such customs are actually found, what they really signified for the tribe of Abraham. We are here not speaking of a prehistoric religion, but of the religion of that tribe that came originally from Ur of the Chaldees, and migrated first by way of Haran to Canaan, and then to Egypt. In this tribe such primitive customs, perhaps, had long been spiritualized. For these Hebrews cannot be regarded as being as uncivilized as are the New Zealanders, or the Indians of North America, or those Bedouins who have never left the desert; for they had lived in Babylonia for a long period, even if, while there, they had withdrawn themselves as much as possible from the more cultured life of the cities. The patriarchs were in touch with the civilization of the Babylonians. We do not, indeed, want to lay special stress on the fact that they lived in Ur and in Haran, two cities of the moon-god, the worship of which divinity shows monotheistic tendencies. But the history of the family of Abraham, e.g. his relation to Sarah and Hagar, shows indisputable influence of Babylonian legal ideas. Probably, too, the traditions concerning the beginnings of history, such as the Creation, the Deluge, and the like, were brought from Babylon to Canaan by the tribe of Abraham.

(3) A Higher Conception of the Deity; 'ilu, 'el.

But this tribe had come to Babylonia from Northern Arabia. It is a very important fact that the oldest Arabian inscriptions, namely the Minaean and the Sabean, lead us to conclude that these tribes entertained a relatively high conception of the Deity, as has been shown by Professor Fritz Hommel. The oldest Arabian proper names are not found combined with names of all kinds of gods, but with the simple 'ilu, 'el, or God, or with 'ili, "my God." Then, too, God is often circumscribed by the nouns expressing relationship, such as 'abhi, "my father," or 'achi, "my brother," or 'ammi, "my uncle," and others, which express an intimate relationship between man and his God. Corresponding to these are also the old Semitic proper names in Canaan, as also the name Abraham, i.e. 'Abhiram, "my father is exalted," or Ishmael, and many others. We accordingly must believe that the ancestors of Abraham immigrated into Babylon with a comparatively highly developed religion and with a uniform conception of God. Here their faith may have been unfavorably influenced, and it is not impossible that the religious disagreement between the patriarch and his neighbors may have been a reason for his migration. Abraham himself is regarded by the Canaanites as a "friend of God," who stands in an intimate relationship with his God, and he is accordingly to be regarded, not merely as a secular, but also as a religious tribal head, an Imam, a prophetical personality.

(4) Totemism; Animism, etc.

Still less is it correct to ascribe to this tribe the lowest religious stage possible, namely that of fetishism or of totemism (worship of demons or worship of animals) and the like. Some think they find evidences of the worship of animals in Israel. The fact that some Israelites were regarded as descendants of Leah ("wild cow"(?)), others of Rachel ("mother sheep"), is claimed to refer to the fact that these animals were totems of the tribe, i.e. were worshipped as ancestors. But for this claim there is no scintilla of proof. These names of women, especially in the case of a nomadic tribe, can be explained in a much more simple way. The calves that appear in later times as images of Yahweh are just as little a proof for the claim that calves were worshipped by the ancestors of Israel as divinities. We read nothing of such an image before the sojourn in Egypt, and after that time this image was always regarded symbolically. The fact, again, that from the days of Moses, and without a doubt earlier than this, certain animals were not allowed to be eaten, does not justify the conclusion which Professor B. Stade and others have drawn from it, namely, that these animals were in olden times regarded as divine (tabu), and for that reason were not permitted to be eaten, and only afterward were avoided as "unclean." The list of unclean animals in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 speaks for an altogether different reason for regarding them as unclean. It is not at all thinkable that these many, and as a rule unclean and low class of animals, were at one time accorded divine honor, while the higher and cleaner class had been excluded from this distinction. We have accordingly no reason for finding animal worship here. On the other hand, it is self-evident, in the case of such an old nomadic tribe, that man stood in a more familiar relationship to his animals, and for this reason the slaughter of these was a more significant matter than was afterward the case. This was done only on extraordinary occasions, and it readily was accorded a religious consecration.

See also TOTEMISM.

The idea is also emphatically to be rejected, that in the pre-Mosaic period mere animism prevailed in Israel-the worship of spirits and of demons. It has been tried in vain to show that in the most primitive period of Israel's religion the worship of ancestors occupied a prominent place. As Professor Emil Kautzsch has emphasized, the arguments which have been drawn from the mourning customs of the Israelites in favor of this claim (as this is done by F. Schwally, Das Leben nach dem Tode, nach den Vorstellungen des alten Israel und des Judentums, Giessen, 1892) are altogether inadequate, as is also the appeal to the marriage with a deceased wife's sister, as though the purpose of the institution was to secure for the deceased who had died without issue somebody who would attend to his worship. Because of the strongly developed mundane character of the religious life in Israel, it is natural that it was regarded as a calamity if there was no issue who kept alive the memory of the departed in the tribe. But even if the argument from the mourning customs of Israel were more convincing than is actually the case, and that gifts, such as food, oil, and the like, were placed in the tomb of the departed, as was often done by the Canaanites, yet this would be in the ancient Israelite religion a matter of subordinate importance, which could readily be explained on the ground of natural feelings. It could never be made to appear plausible that all religions had grown out of such a cult. If the teraphim are to be regarded as having been originally images of ancestors, which is quite plausible, then they would indeed represent a continuous ancestral cult, as the people evidently kept these images in their houses in order to attract to themselves blessings, to avert misfortunes and to secure oracles. But these dolls, modeled after the form of human beings, already in the period of the Patriarchs were regarded as a foreign element and in contradiction to the more earnest religious sentiments (compare Genesis 31:19; Genesis 35:2, 4).

That Israel, like all ancient peoples, did at one time pass through an "animistic" stage of religious development could best be proved, if at all, from their conception of the soul. Among the purifications those are especially necessary which are demanded by the presence of a dead body in the same room with the living, as the living are defiled by the soul of the deceased in leaving the body (Numbers 19:14). Even the uncovered vessels are defiled by his soul-substance (Numbers 19:15). This, however, is a biological conception, which has nothing to do with the conception of the Deity.

Or are those perhaps right, who think that the primitive Israelites had accepted animism in this sense, that they did not as yet worship any actual divinities, but only a multitude of spirits or demons, be these ghosts of departed human beings or the spirits of Nature, local numina? In favor of this last-mentioned view, appeal is made to this fact, that in the ancient Semitic world local divinities with very circumscribed spheres of power are very often to be met with, especially at springs, trees, oases, at which a demon or divinity is regarded as having his abode, who is described as the ba`al or master in this place; compare such local names as Baal-tamar, Baal-hermon, and others. Such local spirits would then be the 'elohim, out of which would grow more mighty divinities of whole cities and countries. To these it would be necessary yet to add those spirits which were worshipped by individual tribes, partly spirits of ancestors, who also could have grown into higher divinities, while the rest of the mass of deities, good and bad, had to content themselves with a lower rank.

As against this, we must above all consider the fact that in ancient Israel the demons played a very subordinate role. The contrast in this regard with Babylonia is phenomenal. It is probably the case that at all periods in Israel there existed a belief in unclean spirits, who perhaps lived in the desert (compare the se`irim), or in the demoniacs, and could otherwise, too, do much harm. But they are not described as having much influence on man's life. How few indications of such a view can be found and how little most of these indications prove we can see in the work of H. Duhm, Die bosch Geister im Altes Testament, Tubingen, 1906. After the Babylonian exile, and still more after the longer sojourn of the Israelites in Babylon, their imagination was to a much greater degree than before saturated by the faith in spirits. Then the closer study of such Semitic be`alim teaches us that they were not originally conceived in such a narrow sense. They are very often of a solar nature, celestial powers who have their abode at a particular place, and there produce fertility, but in this special function represent a general power of Nature. The same is the case with the tribal divinities. These are by no means merely the personifications of the small power of a particular tribe, but claim to be absolute beings, which shows that they are regarded as higher divinities which the tribe has appropriated and adapted to its own political ideas. We accordingly have no right to think that such a divinity was to be regarded as really confined to a particular hill, or even to a certain stone or tree where it was worshipped. The rock or stone or tree divinities of the ancient Arabs are celestial powers, who have only taken their abode at these places, even if popular superstition did actually identify them with such stones or trees.

It is therefore a misconception of the actual state of affairs when the conclusion is drawn that stone-worship is meant when Jacob erects a stone monument, the matstsebhah at Bethel, and anoints it with oil, and when this is understood to be a low type of fetishism. Stones are to the present day, for the wandering tribes, the signs by which important localities, especially sacred places, are designated. The symbolical significance of such stones may be quite different, as also the relation which a divinity is thought to sustain to such a stone monument. For this reason, too, the judgment of the Bible concerning such objects is quite different. Only then, when they are symbols of idolatry, as the chammanim, i.e representations of the sun-god, ba`al chamman, are they everywhere rejected in the Old Testament. In the same way a mighty tree, especially if it is found near a spring of water, is in the Orient, by its very nature, a proof of the life-producing God. Such a tree naturally suggests that it is a place where divine life can be felt. Trees that have been made sacred by manifestations of the divinities or have been consecrated by the memory of a great personality, especially the oak, the terebinth, the palm, were regarded as favorite places beneath which the divinity was sought. Only in that case, as was indeed common in Canaan, when the unhallowed powers of Nature were here adored, was this custom reprehensible in the eyes of the prophets. The 'asherim, too, are of a decidedly heathen character, as these trunks of trees were symbols of the goddess Ashera. Further, it was a favorite custom to worship the divinities on the high places, for the reason that they were regarded as in or attached to the heavens. Only because of the heathen worship which was practiced on these bamoth were they, in later times, so hateful to the prophets.

(5) Conception of God.

In answer to the question, what ideas the patriarchs, the pre-Mosaic leaders of the people of Israel, entertained concerning God, attention must first of all be drawn to the fact that God spoke to some of these personally, be this in one form of manifestation or in another. These men heard the word of God with their own ears, and that, too, in the most important moments of their lives. In the case of Abraham, these revelations are fundamental for him and for his people. The prophetic factor, which goes through the entire history of Israel and constitutes the life-principle that fills its religion and causes its further development, is at the very first beginnings the source whence the knowledge of God is taken. This presupposes a personal God; and, as a matter of fact, a fixed personality is demanded by the character of such a God. His "I" impresses itself upon man with absolute power and demands his service entirely. This "I" constantly remains the same, and everywhere evinces the same power, be this in Haran or in Canaan or in Egypt, and whether it manifests itself to Abraham or to Isaac or to Jacob. This oneness is not formulated as a didactic proposition, but as a living reality: only this God existed for His adherents. These appeal to Him at all times with equal success. The manifestations of this God may be of a different kind at different times. He is even entertained, on one occasion, as a personal guest by His friend Abraham, together with two companions (Genesis 18:1). On another occasion (Genesis 15:17) Abraham beholds Him in symbolical form as a burning and fiery furnace (probably to be regarded as similar to the movable altar discovered by Sellin in Taanach). But these are to be regarded as special favors shown by God. In general it was the rule that God could not be seen without the beholder suffering death. Then, too, the conviction is very old, that what man sees in the case of such theophanies cannot have been God Himself, but that He had manifested Himself through a subordinate agent, an angel (this is particularly the case in the document E in Genesis). This angel, however, has no significance in himself, but is only the creature-veil, out of which God Himself speaks in the first person. In the most elementary manner this formal limitation of God appears in Genesis 11:5, where He goes to the trouble of descending from heaven in order to look at something on earth; and in 18:21, when He desires to go to Sodom personally, in order to convince Himself that what He has intended to send upon this city is also the right thing. It is indeed possible to find in the first instance some traits of irony, and possibly in the second case the epic details may have added something. However, God is no longer spoken of in such a human way in the post-Mosaic times. This shows that the document J (Jahwist) at this place contains material that is very old. All the more is it to be noted what exalted conceptions of God prevail already in these narratives. He dwells in heaven (11:5; 19:24), something that has without reason been claimed not to have been the idea entertained in the older period. He is the God of the world, who exercises supremacy over all the nations. He rules with justice, checks pride, avenges injustice, and that, too, not only in a summary manner on whole countries, but also in such a way that He takes into consideration every individual and saves the one just man out of the midst of the mass of sinners (18:25; 19). In short, He is already the true God, although yet incompletely and primitively grasped in His attributes.

This God, ruling with omnipotent power in Nature and history, has entered into a special relationship with the tribe of Abraham. He has become the Covenant-God of the patriarch, according to the testimony of the old document J in Genesis 15. We accordingly find here already the consciousness that that God who rules over the world has entered into a special relationship with one small nation or tribe. This fact appears also in this, that Abram (Genesis 14) acknowledges the highest God of the priest-king Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20) as his God, as the founder of heaven and of earth, and identifies Him with his own Covenant-God Yahweh.

(6) Cult.

As far as the cult is concerned, it can be stated that at this period it was still of simple, but solemn and dignified character. The people preferred to worship their God at such places where He had manifested Himself, usually on high place, on which an altar had been erected. There were no images of the Divinity extant. As the word mizbeach, "altar," shows, the sacrifices were usually bloody. Human sacrifice had already in the days of Abraham been overcome by the substitution of an animal, although in olden times it may have been practiced, perhaps, as the sacrifice of the firstborn; and in later times, too, through the influence of the example of heathen nations, it may have found its way into Israel now and then. Both larger and smaller animals were sacrificed, as also fowls. The idea that prevailed in this connection was that God, too, enjoyed the food which served man as his sustenance, although God, in a finer way, experienced as a pleasure only the scent of the sacrifices, as this ascended in the flame and the smoke (Genesis 8:21). But the main thing was the blood as the substratum of the soul. The fruits of the field, especially the first-fruits, were also offered. Of liquid offerings, it is probable that in primitive times water was often brought, as this was often a costly possession; and in Canaan, oil, which the inhabitants of this country employed extensively in their sacrifices (Judges 9:9, something that is confirmed also by recent excavations); also wine (Judges 9:13). As the ancient burnt or whole sacrifices (Genesis 8:20) give expression to reverence, thankfulness, the prayer for protection or the granting of certain favors, the people from the very beginning also instituted sacrificial feasts, which gave expression to the covenant with God, the communion with the Covenant-God. In this act the sacrifice was divided between God and those who sacrificed. The latter ate and drank joyously before God after the parts dedicated to Him had been sacrificed, and especially after the blood had been poured around the altar. The idea that this was the original form of the sacrifice and that gift-sacrifices were introduced only at a later period when agriculture had been introduced is not confirmed by historical evidences. That man felt himself impelled, by bringing to his God gifts of the best things he possessed, to express his dependence and gratitude, is too natural not to have been from the beginning a favorite expression of religious feeling. In connection with the sacrifices the name of God was solemnly called upon. J even says that this was the name Yahweh (Genesis 4:25), while E (Elohist) and P (Priestly Code) tell us that this name came into use only through Moses.

According to P (Genesis 17:10), circumcision was already introduced by Abraham in his tribe as the sign of the covenant. There are good reasons why the introduction of this custom is not like that of so many other ceremonies attributed to Moses. The custom was without doubt of an older origin. From whatever source it may have been derived in its earlier ethnological stage, for the Israelites circumcision is an act of purification and of consecration for connection with the congregation of Yahweh. A special priesthood, however, did not yet exist in this period, as the head of the family and of the tribe exercised the priestly functions and rights (compare Genesis 35:1 ff), although the peoples inhabiting Canaan at that time had priests (Genesis 14:18).

2. The Mosaic Covenant with Yahweh:

(1) The Covenant-Idea.

Israel claims that its existence as a nation and its special relation to Yahweh begins with its exodus from Egypt and with the conclusion of the covenant at Mt. Sinai (compare Amos 3:2; Amos 9:7). As the preparation for this relation goes back to one individual, namely, Abraham, thus it is Moses through whom God delivered His people from bondage and received them into His covenant (see concerning Moses as a prophet and mediator of the covenant, ISRAEL, HISTORY OF). It is a matter of the highest significance for the religion of Israel that the relation of this people to Yahweh was not one which existed by the nature of things, as was the case with the other oriental tribal and national religions, but that it was the outgrowth of a historical event, in which their God had united Himself with them. The conception of a covenant, upon which Yahweh entered as a matter of free choice and will, and to which the people voluntarily gave their assent, is not an idea of later date in the religious history of Israel, which grew out of the prophetic thoughts of the 8th and 7th centuries B.C., as has been claimed, but is found, as has been made prominent by Professor French Giesebrecht (Die Geschichtlichkeit des Sinaibundes, 1900), already in the oldest accounts of the conclusion of the covenant (E, J), and must be ascribed to the Mosaic age. This includes the fact, too, that this covenant, which unites Yahweh with Israel, could not be of an indissoluble character, but that the covenant was based on certain conditions. The superficial opinion of the people might often cause them to forget this. But the prophets could, in later times, base their proclamations on this fact.

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strength: For "the strength of the children of Israel," applied to Yahweh in the King James Version Joel 3:16, the Revised Version (British and American) reads "a stronghold to the children of Israel."




1. The Wilderness

2. Four Separate Regions Included

3. "The Sandy Tract"

4. Description of the Arabah

5. Physical Condition of the Wilderness

6. Difficulties Regarding the Numbers of Israel and Account of Tabernacle

7. Difficulty as to Number of Wagons

8. Fauna of the Desert

9. Characteristic Names of the Districts


1. Mode of Traveling

2. The Route: the First Camp

3. Waters of Marah

4. Camp by the Red Sea

5. The Route to Sinai


1. The Stay at Sinai

2. Site of Kadesh-barnea

3. The Route: Hazeroth to Moseroth

4. The Camps between Hazeroth and Moseroth


1. The History

2. The Camps Visited


1. The Route

2. The Five Stations to the Border of Moab

3. From Iyim to Arnon

4. The Message to Sihon

5. From the Arnon to Shittim

6. Review

I. Conditions.

1. The Wilderness:

A consideration of the geography and natural features of the desert between Egypt and Edom, in which the Hebrews are said to have wandered for 40 years, has a very important bearing on the question of the genuineness of the Pentateuch narrative. This wilderness forms a wedge between the Gulfs of Suez and `Aqabah, tapering South to the granite mountains near Sinai. It has a base 175 miles long East and West on the North, and the distance North and South is 250 miles. The area is thus over 20,000 square miles, or double the size of the Promised Land East and West of Jordan. On the North of this desert lie the plains of Gaza and Gerar, and the Neghebh or "dry region" (the south; see Numbers 13:17 the Revised Version (British and American)), including the plateau and low hills round Beersheba.

2. Four Separate Regions Included:

There are four separate regions included in the area, the largest part (13,000 square miles) being a plateau which on the South rises 3,000 to 4,000 feet above the sea, and shelves gently toward the Philistine plains. It is drained into the broad Wady el-`Arish, named from el-`Arish ("the booth"), a station on the Mediterranean coast South of Gaza, where this valley enters the sea. In this direction several prominent mountains occur (Jebel Yeleq, Jebel Hilal, and Jebel Ikhrimm), while further East-near the site of the Western Kadesh-there is a step on the plateau culminating on the South in Jebel el-Mukhrah; but none of these ranges appears to be more than about 4,000 feet above the sea. The plateau is known as Badiet et-Tih ("the pathless waste"), and though some Arab geographers of the Middle Ages speak of it as the desert "of the wandering of the Beni Israil," they refer to the whole region as far as `Aqabah, and not to the plateau alone. The elevation on the South forms a very steep ascent or "wall" (see SHUR), bending round on the West and East, and rising above the shore plains near Suez and the `Arabah near Edom. Near the center of the plateau is the small fort of Nakhl ("the palms"), where water is found; but, as a whole, the Tih is waterless, having very few springs, the most important being those near the western Kadesh (`Ain Kadis); for Rehoboth belongs to the region of the Neghebh rather than to the Tih. In winter, when very heavy rains occur, the valleys are often flooded suddenly by a seil, or "torrent," which is sometimes 10 feet deep for a few hours. Such a seil has been known to sweep away trees, flocks, and human beings; yet, in consequence of the hard rocky surface, the flood rushes away to the sea and soon becomes a mere rivulet. Where soft soil is found, in the valleys, grass will grow and afford pasture, but even early in spring the Arabs begin to suffer from want of water, which only remains in pits and in water holes among rocks. They have then much difficulty in watering their goats and sheep.

3. "The Sandy Tract":

Below the Tih escarpment on the South is another region called Debbet er-ramleh ("the sandy tract"), which is only 20 miles across at its widest; and to the West are the sandy plains, with limestone foothills, stretching East of the Bitter Lakes and of the Gulf of Suez. The third region consists of the granite chain (see SINAI) which rises to 8,550 feet above the sea, and some 6,000 feet above its valleys, near Jebel Musa. Parts of this region are better watered than is any part of the Tih, and the main route from Egypt to Edom has consequently always run through it.

4. Description of the Arabah:

The fourth region is that of the `Arabah, or broad valley (10 miles wide) between the Gulf of `Aqabah and the Dead Sea. It has a watershed some 700 feet high above the Gulf (South of the neighborhood of Petra); and North of this shed the water flows to the Dead Sea 1,292 feet below the Mediterranean. The total length of this valley is 120 miles, the watershed being (near the Edomite chain) about 45 miles North of `Aqabah. The head of the Gulf was once farther North; and, near `Ain Ghudian (probably Eziongeber) and `Ain et-Tabah (probably Jotbath), there is a mud flat which becomes a lake in winter-about 20 miles from the sea. Lower down-at `Ain edition Deffiyeh-there is another such flat, the head being 10 miles from `Aqabah. The whole region is much better watered than either of the three preceding districts, having springs at the foot of the mountains on either side; and the `Arabah is thus the best pastoral country within the limits described. It now supports a nomad population of about 2,000 or 3,000 souls (Chaiwatat and `Alawin Arabs), while the region round Sinai has some 2,000 souls (Towarah Arabs): the whole of the Tih has probably not more than 5,000 inhabitants; for the stronger tribes (`Azazimeh and Terabin) live chiefly between Gaza and Beersheba. These Arabs have goats, sheep and camels, but cattle are only found near Beersheba. The flocks are watered daily-as in Palestine generally-and are sometimes driven 20 miles in winter to find pasture and water. The water is also brought on donkeys and camels to the camps, and carried in goatskin bags on a journey through waterless districts.

See also ARABAH.

5. Physical Condition of the Wilderness:

There is no reason to think that the conditions at the time of the Exodus differed materially from those of the present time. The Arabs have cut down a good many acacia trees for firewood in recent times, but the population is too small materially to affect the vegetation. The annual rainfall-except in years of drought-is from 10 to 20 inches, and snow falls in winter on the Tih, and whitens Sinai and the Edomite mountains for many days. The acacia, tamarisk and palm grow in the valleys. At Wady Feiran there are said to be 5,000 date palms, and they occur also in the `Arabah and the Edomite gorges, while the white broom (1 Kings 19:5, the King James Version "juniper") grows on the Tih plateau. This Tih plateau is the bed of an ancient ocean which once surrounded the granite mountains of Sinai. It was upheaved probably in the Miocene age, long before man appeared on earth. The surface formation (Hull, Memoir on the Geology and Geography of Arabia-Petraea, etc., 1886) consists of Cretaceous limestones of the Eocene and Chalk ages, beneath which lies the Nubian sandstone of the Greensand period, which is also visible all along the route from Sinai to `Aqabah, and on the east side of the Dead Sea, and even at the foot of the Gilead plateau. These beds are all visible in the Tih escarpment; and North of Sinai there are yet older formations of limestone, and the "desert sandstone" of the Carboniferous period. Since the conditions of natural water-supply depend entirely on geological formation and on rainfall, neither of which can be regarded as having changed since the time of Moses, the scientific conclusion is that the desert thus described represents that of his age, This, as we shall see, affects our conclusion as to the route followed by Israel from Egypt to the `Arabah; for, on the direct route from Suez to Nakhl (about 70 miles), there is no water for the main part of the way, so it has to be carried on camels; while, East of Nakhl, in a distance of 80 miles, there is only one known supply in a well (Bir eth-Themed) a few miles South of the road. This route was thus practically impassable for the Hebrews and their beasts, whereas the Sinai route was passable. Thus when Wellhausen (History of Israel and Judah, 343) speaks of Israel as going straight to Kadesh, and not making a "digression to Sinai," he seems not to have considered the topography as described by many modern travelers. For not only was the whole object of their journey first to visit the "Mount of God," but it also lay on the most practicable route to Kadesh.

6. Difficulties Regarding the Numbers of Israel and Account of Tabernacle

It is true that there are certain difficulties as regards both the numbers of Israel and the account of the tabernacle. The first of these objections has been considered elsewhere (see EXODUS). The detailed account of the tabernacle (Exodus 25-28; 36-39) belongs to a part of the Pentateuch which many critical writers assign to a later date than that of the old narrative and laws (Exodus 1-24). The description may seem more applicable to the semi-permanent structure that existed at Shiloh and Nob, than to the original "tent of meeting" in the desert. On the other hand, living so long in civilized Egypt, the Hebrews no doubt had among them skilled artificers like Bezalel. The Egyptians used acacia wood for furniture; and though the desert acacia does not grow to the size which would furnish planks 1 1/4 cubits broad, it may be that these were made up by joiner's work such as the ancients were able to execute. There was plenty of gold in Egypt and Asia, but none near Sinai. It is suggested, however, that the ornaments of which the Hebrews spoiled the Egyptians were presented, like the stuffs (Exodus 36:6) prepared for the curtains-just as the Arabs weave stuffs for their tents-and they might have served to spread a thin layer of gold over acacia boards, and on the acacia altar. It is more difficult to understand (on our present information) where silver enough for the bases (Exodus 26:25) would be found. Copper (Exodus 27:4) presents less difficulty, since there were copper mines in Wady Nucb near Serabit el Khadim. The women gave gold earrings to Aaron (Exodus 32:3) for the Golden Calf, but this may have been a small object. Eusebius (in Onomasticon), referring to Dizahab, "the place of gold" (Deuteronomy 1:1), now Dhahab ("gold") on the west shore of the Gulf of `Aqabah, East of Sinai, mentions the copper mines of Punon; and thought that veins of gold might also have existed in the mountains of Edom in old times. A little gold is also found in Midian. We know that the Egyptians and Assyrians carried arks and portable altars with their armies, and a great leather tent of Queen Habasu actually exists. Thothmes III, before the Exodus, speaks of "seven tent poles covered with plates of gold from the tent of the hostile king" which he took as spoil at Megiddo. The art of engraving gems was also already ancient in the time of Moses.


7. Difficulty as to Number of Wagons:

Another difficulty is to understand how six ox wagons (Numbers 7:3) sufficed to carry all the heavy planks and curtains, and vessels of the tabernacle; and though the use of ox carts, and of four-wheeled wagons also, is known to have been ancient in Asia, there are points on even the easiest route which it would seem impossible for wagons to pass, especially on the rough road through Edom and Moab. On the other hand, we know that an Egyptian Mohar did drive his chariot over the mountains in Palestine in the reign of Rameses II, though it was finally broken near Joppa.

8. Fauna of the Desert:

Whatever be thought as to these questions, there are indications in other passages of actual acquaintance with the desert fauna. Although the manna, as described (Exodus 16:31), is said not to resemble the sweet gum which exudes from the twigs of the tamarisk (to which it has been compared by some), which melts in the sun, and is regarded as a delicacy by the Arabs, yet the quail (Exodus 16:13 Numbers 11:31) still migrate from the sea northward across the desert in spring, flying low by night. The birds noticed (Leviticus 11 Deuteronomy 14) include-as Canon Tristram remarked-species found on the seashores and in the wilderness, such as the cormorant, pelican and gull; the ostrich (in the desert East of Moab); the stork, the crane and the heron which migrate from Africa to the Jordan valley. It is notable that, except the heron (Assyrian anpatu), the Hebrew names are not those used by later Assyrians. The mammals include the boar which loves the marshes, and the hyrax (the King James Version "coney") which still exists near Sinai and in the desert of Judah, with the desert hare. It is remarkable that in Deuteronomy (14:5), besides the ibex and the bubak, two species are added (the fallow deer, Hebrew 'ayyal, the King James Version "hart," and the roebuck, Hebrew yachmur, Arabic yachmur, the King James Version "fallow deer") which are not desert animals. The former occurs at Tabor; the latter was found by the present writer in 1873 on Carmel, and is since known in Gilead and Lebanon. But Deuteronomy refers to conditions subsequent to the capture of Gilead and Bashan.

9. Characteristic Names of the Districts:

The various districts in the desert receive characteristic names in the account of the Exodus. Thus, Shur is the coast region under the "wall" of the Tih, and Sin (Exodus 17:1 Numbers 33:11) was the "glaring" desert (see SINAI) of white chalk, West of Sinai. Paran is noticed 10 times, as a desert and mountain region (Deuteronomy 33:2 Habakkuk 3:3) between Sinai and Kadesh. The name seems to survive in Wady Feiran West of Sinai. It means some kind of "burrows," whether referring to mines, caves or water pits, according to the usual explanation; but in Arabic the root also means "hot," which is perhaps more likely. The term seems to be of very wide extension, and to refer to the Tih generally (Genesis 21:21); for David (1 Samuel 25:1) in Paran was not far from Maon and Carmel South of Hebron, and the same general application (1 Kings 11:18) is suggested in another passage. Finally the desert of Zin (tsin) is noticed 9 times, and very clearly lay close to Kadesh-barnea and East of Paran (Numbers 13:21; Numbers 20:1; Numbers 34:3 Deuteronomy 32:51 Joshua 15:3). The rabbis rendered it "palm" (tsin), which is appropriate to the `Arabah valley which still retains the old name mentioned in Deuteronomy 1:1. These various considerations as to the conditions to be fulfilled may serve to show that the difficulties often raised, as to the historic character of the Exodus narrative, have been much overstated; and a further study of the various journeys serves to confirm this view.

II. First Journey.

1. Mode of Traveling:

Israel left Egypt in the early part of April (after the 14th of Abib) and reached Sinai about the 14th or 19th of the 3rd month (Exodus 19:1), or at the end of May. They thus took two months to accomplish a journey of about 117 miles; but from the first camp after crossing the Red Sea to that in the plain before the Mount ten marches are mentioned, giving intervals of less than 12 miles between each camp. Thus they evidently remained in camp for at least 50 days of the time, probably at the better supplied springs, including that of the starting-point, and those at Elim and Rephidim, in order to rest their flocks. The camps were probably not all crowded round one spring, but spread over a distance of some miles. The Arabs indeed do not camp or keep their flocks close to the waters, probably in order not to defile them, but send the women with donkeys to fetch water, and drive the sheep and goats to the spring or well in the cool of the afternoon. Thus we read that Amalek "smote the hindmost" (Deuteronomy 25:18), which may either mean the stragglers unable to keep up when "weary," or perhaps those in the camp most in the rear.

2. The Route: the First Camp:

The route of Israel has been very carefully described by Robinson (BR, 1838, I, 60-172; II, 95-195), and his account is mainly followed in this and the next sections. We may place the first camp (see EXODUS), between the springs which supply Suez (`Ain Nab'a and `Ayyun Musa), which are about 4 miles apart. The first of these is scooped out among the sand hillocks, and bubbles up in a basin some 6 ft. deep. The water is brackish, but supplies as many as 200 camel loads at once for Suez. At `Ayyun Musa ("the springs of Moses") there are seven springs, some being small and scooped in the sand. A few palms occur near the water (which is also brackish), and a little barley is grown, while in recent times gardens of pomegranates have been cultivated (A. E. Haynes, Man-Hunting in the Desert, 1894, 106), which, with the palms, give a grateful shade.

3. Waters of Marah:

From this base Israel marched "three days in the wilderness" of Shur, "and found no water" (Exodus 15:22). They no doubt carried it with them, and may have sent back camels to fetch it. Even when they reached the waters of Marah ("the bitter") they found them undrinkable till sweetened. The site of Marah seems clearly to have been at `Ain Chawarah ("the white chalk spring"), named from the chalky mound beside it. This is 36 miles from `Ayyun Musa, giving an average daily march of 12 miles. There is no water on the route, though some might have been fetched from `Ain Abu Jerad in Wady Sudr, and from the small spring of Abu Suweirah near the sea. Burckhardt thought that the water was sweetened from the berries of the Gharqad shrub (which have an acid juice) on the thorny bushes near the spring. This red berry ripens, however, in June. There is no doubt, on the other hand, that the best treatment for brack water is the addition of an acid taste. The Arabs consider the waters of this spring to be the most bitter in the country near.

4. Camp by the Red Sea:

From Marah, the next march led to Elim ("the palms"), where were "twelve springs (not "wells") of water and seventy palms." The site seems clearly to have been in Wady Gharandil, where a brook is found fed by springs of better water than that of Marah. The distance is only about 6 miles, or an easy march, and palm trees exist near the waters. Israel then entered the desert of Sin, stretching from Elim to Sinai, reaching a camp "by the Red Sea" (Numbers 33:10) just a month after leaving Egypt (Exodus 16:1). The probable site is near the mouth of Wady et-Taiyibeh ("the goodly valley"), which is some 10 or 12 miles from the springs of Gharandil. The foothills here project close to the coast, and North of the valley is Jebel Chammam Far'aun ("the mountain of Pharaoh's hot bath"), named from hot sulphur springs. The water in Wady et-Taiyibeh is said to be better than that of Marah, and this is the main Arab watering-place after passing Gharandil. A small pond is here described by Burckhardt at el-Murkhat, in the sandstone rock near the foot of the mountains, but the water is bitter and full of weeds, moss and mud. The site is close to a broad shore plain stretching South Here two roads diverge toward Sinai, which lies about 65 miles to the Southeast, and in this interval (Numbers 33:11-15) five stations are named, giving a daily march of 13 miles. The Hebrews probably took the lower and easier road, especially as it avoided the Egyptian mines of Wady el-Maghdrah ("valley of the cave") and their station at Serabit el-Khadim ("pillars of the servant"), where-though this is not certain-there may have been a detachment of bowmen guarding the mines.

5. The Route to Sinai:

None of the five camps on this section of the route is certainly known. Dophkah apparently means "overdriving" of flocks, and Alush (according to the rabbis) "crowding," thus indicating the difficulties of the march. Rephidim ("refreshments") contrasts with these names and indicates a better camp. The site, ever since the 4th century A.D., has always been shown in Wady Feiran (Eusebius, Onomasticon, under the word "Rephidim")-an oasis of date palms with a running stream. The distance from Sinai is about 18 miles, or 14 from the western end of the broad plain er-Rachah in which Israel camped in sight of Horeb; and the latter name (Exodus 17:6) included the Desert of Sinai even as far West as Rephidim. Here the rod of Moses, smiting the rock, revealed to the Hebrews an abundant supply, just as they despaired of water. Here apparently they could rest in comfort for some three weeks before the final march to the plain "before the mount" (Exodus 19:1, 2), which they reached two months after leaving Egypt. Here Amalek-coming down probably from the mines-attacked them in the rear. Meanwhile there was ample time for the news of their journey to reach Midian, and for the family of Moses (Exodus 18:1-5) to reach Sinai. On one of the low hills near Wady Feiran, Moses watched the doubtful fight and built his stone altar. A steep pass separates the oasis from the Rachah plain, and baggage camels usually round it on the North by Wady esh-Sheikh, which may have been the actual route. The Rephidim oasis has a fertile alluvial soil, and the spot was chosen by Christian hermits perhaps as early as the 3rd century A.D.

III. Second Journey.

1. The Stay at Sinai:

Israel remained at Mt. Sinai for 10 months, leaving it after the Passover of the "second year" (Numbers 9:1-3), and apparently soon after the feast, since, when they again witnessed the spring migration of the quail (Numbers 11:31) "from the sea"-as they had done in the preceding year (Exodus 16:13) farther West-they were already about 20 miles on their road, at Kibroth-hattaavah, or "the graves of lust."

2. Site of Kadesh-barnea:

(1) In order to follow their journey it is necessary to fix the site of Kadesh-barnea to which they were going, and there has been a good deal of confusion as to this city since, in 1844, John Rowlands discovered the site of the western Kadesh, at `Ain Qadis in the northern part of the Tih. Robinson pointed out (BR, II, 194, note 3) that this site could not possibly be right for Kadesh-barnea; and, though it was accepted by Professor Palmer, who visited the vicinity in January, 1870, and has been advocated by Henry Clay Trumbull (Kadesh-barnea, 1884), the identification makes hopeless chaos of the Old Testament topography. The site of `Ain Qadis is no doubt that of the Kadesh of Hagar (see SHUR), and a tradition of her presence survives among the Arabs, probably derived from one of the early hermits, since a small hermitage was found by Palmer in the vicinity (Survey of Western Palestine, Special Papers, 1881, 19). But this spring is not said to have been at the "city" of Kadesh-barnea, which is clearly placed at the southeast corner of the land of Israel (Joshua 15:3), while, in the same chapter (Joshua 15:23), another site called Kedesh is mentioned, with Adadah (`Ada'deh 7 miles Southeast of Arad) and Hazor (at Jebel Chadireh); this Kedesh may very well have been at the western Kadesh.

(2) Kadesh-barnea is noticed in 10 passages of the Old Testament, and in 16 other verses is called Kadesh only. The name probably means "the holy place of the desert of wandering," and-as we shall see-the wanderings of Israel were confined to the `Arabah. The place is described as "a city in the uttermost.... border" of Edom (Numbers 20:16), Edom being the "red land" of Mt. Seir, so called from its red sandstones, as contrasted with the white Tih limestone. It is also very clearly placed (Numbers 34:3, 4) South of the Dead Sea (compare Joshua 15:3), while Ezekiel also (47:19) gives it as the southeastern limit of the land, opposed to Tamar (Tamrah near Gaza) as the southeastern border town. A constant tradition, among Jews and Christians alike, identifies Kadesh-barnea with Petra, and this as early as the time of Josephus, who says that Aaron died on a mountain near Petra (Ant., IV, iv, 7), and that the old name of Petra was Arekem (vii, 1). The Targum of Onkelos (on Numbers 34:4) renders Kadesh-barnea by "Rekem of the G'aia" and this name-meaning "many-colored"-was due to the many-colored rocks near Petra, while the g'aia or "outcry" is probably that of Israel at Meribah-kadesh (Numbers 27:14), and may have some connection with the name of the village el-Jii, at Petra, which is now called Wady Musa ("the valley of Moses") by the Arabs, who have a tradition that the gorge leading to Petra was cloven by the rod of Moses when he struck the rock at the "waters of strife" (Numbers 27:14), forming the present stream which represents that of "Meribah of Kadesh." Eusebius also (in Onomasticon under the word "Barne") connects Kadesh with Petra, and this traditional site so fully answers the requirements of the journey in question that it may be accepted as one of the best-fixed points on the route, especially as the position of Hazeroth agrees with this conclusion. Hazeroth (Numbers 11:35; Numbers 12:16; Numbers 33:17 Deuteronomy 1:1) means "enclosures," and the name survives at `Ain Chadrah ("spring of the enclosure") about 30 miles Northeast of Mt. Sinai on the way to the `Arabah. It was the 3rd camp from Sinai, the 1st being Taberah (Numbers 11:3) and the 2nd Kibroth-hattaavah (Numbers 11:35), giving a daily march of 10 miles.


3. The Route: Hazeroth to Moseroth:

After passing Hazeroth (Numbers 12:16; Numbers 13:3) the journey appears to have been leisurely, and Israel probably camped for some time in the best pastures of the `Arabah. For the spies were sent from Paran near Hazeroth to explore the route to Kadesh, and to examine the "south country" through which Israel hoped to enter Palestine (Numbers 13:17, 21). They explored this district (Numbers 13:21; Numbers 32:8) from "the wilderness of Zin," or otherwise "from Kadesh-barnea," on the East, to Rehob-probably Rehoboth (now er-Ruheibeh)-on the West; and-having been absent 40 days (Numbers 13:25)-after visiting Hebron (Numbers 13:22) they returned by the direct route leading South of Arad (Tell `Arad) to Petra, which road is called (Numbers 21:1) the "way of the spies." On their return, in the season of "first-ripe grapes" (Numbers 13:20), they found Israel at Kadesh (Numbers 13:26). No place North of Hebron is mentioned in the account of their explorations, and it is difficult to suppose that, in 40 days, they could have reached the Syrian city of Hamath, which is some 350 miles North of Petra, and have returned thence. The definition of Rehob (mentioned before Hebron) as being `on the coming to Hamath' (Numbers 13:21) is best explained as a scribe's error, due to an indistinct manuscript, the original reading being chalatseth, and referring to the classical Elussa (now Khalasah) which lies 10 miles North of Rehoboth on the main road to Beersheba and Hebron. Israel left Sinai in the spring, after the Passover, and was near Hazeroth in the time of the quail migration. Hazeroth possesses the only perennial supply of water in the region, from its vicinity the spies set forth in August.

4. The Camps between Hazeroth and Moseroth:

Most of the sites along this route are unknown, and their position can only be gathered from the meaning of the names; but the 6th station from Hazeroth was at Mt. Shepher (Numbers 33:23), and may have left its name corrupted into Tell el-`Acfar (or `Asfar), the Hebrew meaning "the shining hill," and the Arabic either the same or else "the yellow." This site is 60 miles from Hazeroth, giving a daily march of 10 miles. As regards the other stations, Rithmah means "broomy," referring to the white desert broom; Rimmon-perez was a "cloven height," and Libnab a "white" chalky place; Rissah means "dewy," and Kehelathah, "gathering." From Mt. Shepher the distance to the vicinity of Mt. Hor is about 55 miles, and seven stations are named, giving an average march of 8 miles. The names are Haradah (Numbers 33:24), "fearful," referring to a mountain; Makheloth, "gatherings"; Tahath-probably "below"-marking the descent into the `Arabah; Terah, "delay," referring to rest in the better pastures; Mithkah, "sweetness" of pasture or of water; Hashmonah, "fatness"; and Moseroth; probably meaning "the boundaries," near Mt. Hor. These names, though now lost, agree well with a journey through a rugged region of white limestone and yellow sandstone, followed by a descent into the pastoral valley of the `Arabah. The distances also are all probable for flocks.

Read Complete Article...






2474. Israel -- Israel, the name of the Jewish people and their ...
... 2473, 2474. Israel. 2475 . Israel, the name of the Jewish people and their
land. Part of Speech: Proper Noun, Indeclinable Transliteration ...
// - 7k

2475. Israelites -- an Israelite
... Israelites Phonetic Spelling: (is-rah-ale-ee'-tace) Short Definition: an Israelite
Definition: an Israelite, one of the chosen people of Israel, a Jew. ...
// - 6k

1429. dodekaphulon -- the twelve tribes
... Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: dodekaphulon Phonetic Spelling:
(do-dek-af'-oo-lon) Short Definition: the Twelve Tribes of Israel Definition: the ...
// - 6k

2475a. Israelites -- an Israelite
... 2475, 2475a. Israelites. 2475b . an Israelite. Transliteration: Israelites
Short Definition: Israel. Word Origin from Israel Definition ...
// - 5k

3128. Manasses -- Manasseh, an Israelite
... Manasses Phonetic Spelling: (man-as-sace') Short Definition: Manasseh Definition:
(Hebrew), Manasseh, (a) son of Joseph, founder of a tribe of Israel, (b) son ...
// - 6k

958. Beniamin -- Benjamin, one of the twelve Isr. tribes
... Phonetic Spelling: (ben-ee-am-een') Short Definition: Benjamin Definition: Benjamin,
youngest son of Jacob, founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. ...
// - 6k

2403. Iezabel -- Jezebel, the symbolic name of a false prophetess
... Short Definition: Jezebel Definition: Jezebel, name given to a false prophetess
of Thyatira, possibly borrowed from the name of Ahab's wife, queen of Israel. ...
// - 6k

4549. Saoul -- Saul, the first Isr. king, also the Jewish name of ...
... Proper Noun, Indeclinable Transliteration: Saoul Phonetic Spelling: (sah-ool') Short
Definition: Saul Definition: Saul, (a) the first king of Israel, (b) the ...
// - 6k

5443. phule -- a clan or tribe
... 5443 (from 5453 , "to generate") -- a tribe (race, lineage); the descendants of
a common ancestor, like the progeny springing from Jacob (Israel). ...
// - 7k

913. Barak -- Barak, a commander of the Isr.
... of Speech: Proper Noun, Indeclinable Transliteration: Barak Phonetic Spelling:
(bar-ak') Short Definition: Barak Definition: Barak, one of the judges of Israel ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
415. El Elohe Yisrael -- "the mighty God of Israel," an altar of ...
El Elohe Yisrael. 414, 415. El Elohe Yisrael. 416 . "the mighty God of Israel,"
an altar of Jacob. Transliteration: El Elohe Yisrael Phonetic Spelling: (ale ...
/hebrew/415.htm - 6k

3068. Yhvh -- the proper name of the God of Israel
... 3067, 3068. Yhvh. 3069 . the proper name of the God of Israel. Transliteration:
Yhvh Phonetic Spelling: (yeh-ho-vaw') Short Definition: LORD. ...
/hebrew/3068.htm - 6k

3050. Yah -- the name of the God of Israel
... 3049, 3050. Yah. 3051 . the name of the God of Israel. Transliteration: Yah
Phonetic Spelling: (yaw) Short Definition: LORD. Word Origin contr. ...
/hebrew/3050.htm - 6k

62. Abel Beth-maakah -- a city in Northern Israel
... a city in Northern Israel. Transliteration: Abel Beth-maakah Phonetic Spelling:
(aw-bale' bayth ma-a-kaw') Short Definition: Abel-beth-maacah. ...
/hebrew/62.htm - 6k

1630. Gerizim -- a mountain in Northern Israel
... 1629b, 1630. Gerizim. 1631 . a mountain in Northern Israel. Transliteration:
Gerizim Phonetic Spelling: (gher-ee-zeem') Short Definition: Gerizim. ...
/hebrew/1630.htm - 6k

3361. Yoqmeam -- "let the people be established," a city in ...
... Yoqmeam. 3362 . "let the people be established," a city in Northern Israel.
Transliteration: Yoqmeam Phonetic Spelling: (yok-meh-awm') Short Definition: Jokmeam ...
/hebrew/3361.htm - 6k

1835. Dan -- "judge," a son of Jacob, also his desc. and their ...
... desc. and their territory, also a place in Northern Israel. Transliteration:
Dan Phonetic Spelling: (dawn) Short Definition: Dan. ...
/hebrew/1835.htm - 6k

2768. Chermon -- "sacred (mountain)," a mountain in S. Aram (Syria ...
... "sacred (mountain)," a mountain in S. Aram (Syria) and Northern Israel. Transliteration:
Chermon Phonetic Spelling: (kher-mone') Short Definition: Hermon. ...
/hebrew/2768.htm - 6k

3157. Yizreel -- "God sows," two Israelites, also two cities in ...
... 3156, 3157. Yizreel. 3158 . "God sows," two Israelites, also two cities
in Isr., also a valley in Northern Israel. Transliteration ...
/hebrew/3157.htm - 6k

4505. Menachem -- "comforter," king of Northern Israel
... 4504, 4505. Menachem. 4506 . "comforter," king of Northern Israel. Transliteration:
Menachem Phonetic Spelling: (men-akh-ame') Short Definition: Menahem. ...
/hebrew/4505.htm - 6k


Israel Returning
... HOSEA ISRAEL RETURNING. 'O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou
hast fallen by thine iniquity.2. Take with you words, and ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture a/israel returning.htm

Israel in Egypt
... Israel in Egypt. A Sermon (No.136). ... I. First, it is our business to regard THE
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 3 1857/israel in egypt.htm

The Census of Israel
... The Census of Israel. A Sermon (No.2198). ... A census was taken of the tribes of
Israel in the wilderness two years after they had left Egypt. ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 37 1891/the census of israel.htm

Israel the Beloved
... THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY ISRAEL THE BELOVED. 'The beloved of the Lord shall
dwell in safety by Him; and the Lord shall cover him all ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture f/israel the beloved.htm

The Rejuvenation and Restoration of Israel.
... Chapter Six The Signs of the Redeemer's Return 8. The Rejuvenation and Restoration
of Israel. The Jew has been termed the mystery and miracle of history. ...
/.../pink/the redeemers return/8 the rejuvenation and restoration.htm

The Restoration of Israel is Only Made Possible by the Second ...
... IV. PRE-MILLENNIALISM ESTABLISHED. 3. The Restoration of Israel is only
made possible by the Second Advent of Christ. Under this ...
/.../pink/the redeemers return/3 the restoration of israel.htm

Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations
Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations. <. Early Israel and the
Surrounding Nations Archibald Sayce. Produced by Jonathan ...
// israel and the surrounding nations/

The Millennium in Relation to Israel.
... Chapter Ten The Consummation Of The Redeemer's Return 4. The Millennium
in relation to Israel. "And it came to pass, that, when ...
/.../pink/the redeemers return/4 the millennium in relation.htm

Jacob --Israel --Jeshurun
... JACOB"ISRAEL"JESHURUN. 'Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant; and Israel,
whom I have chosen.... Fear not, O Jacob, My servant; and ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture h/jacobisraeljeshurun.htm

How Christians are the Spiritual Israel.
... Book I. 1. How Christians are the Spiritual Israel. That people which was
called of old the people of God was divided into twelve ...
/.../origen/origens commentary on the gospel of john/1 how christians are the.htm

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

who prevails with God

Smith's Bible Dictionary

(the prince that prevails with God).

  1. The name given, (Genesis 32:28) to Jacob after his wrestling with the angel, (Hosea 12:4) at Peniel. Gesenius interprets Israel "soldier of God."
  2. It became the national name of the twelve tribes collectively. They are so called in (Exodus 3:16) and afterward.
  3. It is used in a narrower sense, excluding Judah, in (1 Samuel 11:8; 2 Samuel 20:1; 1 Kings 12:16) Thenceforth it was assumed and accepted as the name of the northern kingdom.
  4. After the Babylonian captivity, the returned exiles resumed the name Israel as the designation of their nation. The name Israel is also used to denote lay-men, as distinguished from priests, Levites and other ministers. (Ezra 6:16; 9:1; 10:25; Nehemiah 11:3) etc.
ATS Bible Dictionary

Who prevails with God, a name given to Jacob, after having wrestled with the Angel-Jehovah at Penuel. Genesis 32:1,2,28,30 Hosea 12:3. See JACOB. By the name Israel is sometimes understood all the posterity of Israel, the seed of Jacob, 1 1 Corinthians 10:18; sometimes all true believers, his spiritual seed, Romans 9:6; and sometimes the kingdom of Israel, or the ten tribes, as distinct from the kingdom of Judah.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
The name conferred on Jacob after the great prayer-struggle at Peniel (Genesis 32:28), because "as a prince he had power with God and prevailed." (see JACOB.) This is the common name given to Jacob's descendants. The whole people of the twelve tribes are called "Israelites," the "children of Israel" (Joshua 3:17; 7:25; Judges 8:27; Jeremiah 3:21), and the "house of Israel" (Exodus 16:31; 40:38).

This name Israel is sometimes used emphatically for the true Israel (Psalm 73:1: Isaiah 45:17; 49:3; John 1:47; Romans 9:6; 11:26).

After the death of Saul the ten tribes arrogated to themselves this name, as if they were the whole nation (2 Samuel 2:9, 10, 17, 28; 3:10, 17; 19:40-43), and the kings of the ten tribes were called "kings of Israel," while the kings of the two tribes were called "kings of Judah."

After the Exile the name Israel was assumed as designating the entire nation.

Israel, Kingdom of

(B.C. 975-B.C. 722). Soon after the death of Solomon, Ahijah's prophecy (1 Kings 11:31-35) was fulfilled, and the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, was scarcely seated on his throne when the old jealousies between Judah and the other tribes broke out anew, and Jeroboam was sent for from Egypt by the malcontents (12:2, 3). Rehoboam insolently refused to lighten the burdensome taxation and services which his father had imposed on his subjects (12:4), and the rebellion became complete. Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry, "Every man to his tents, O Israel" (2 Samuel 20:1). Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:1-18; 2 Chronicles 10), and Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, Judah and Benjamin remaining faithful to Solomon's son. War, with varying success, was carried on between the two kingdoms for about sixty years, till Jehoshaphat entered into an alliance with the house of Ahab.

Extent of the kingdom. In the time of Solomon the area of Palestine, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 13,000 square miles. The kingdom of Israel comprehended about 9,375 square miles. Shechem was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25), afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the capital (16:24), and continued to be so till the destruction of the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5). During the siege of Samaria (which lasted for three years) by the Assyrians, Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by Sargon, who himself thus records the capture of that city: "Samaria I looked at, I captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away" (2 Kings 17:6) into Assyria. Thus after a duration of two hundred and fifty-three years the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end. They were scattered throughout the East. (see CAPTIVITY.)

"Judah held its ground against Assyria for yet one hundred and twenty-three years, and became the rallying-point of the dispersed of every tribe, and eventually gave its name to the whole race. Those of the people who in the last struggle escaped into the territories of Judah or other neighbouring countries naturally looked to Judah as the head and home of their race. And when Judah itself was carried off to Babylon, many of the exiled Israelites joined them from Assyria, and swelled that immense population which made Babylonia a second Palestine."

After the deportation of the ten tribes, the deserted land was colonized by various eastern tribes, whom the king of Assyria sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29). (see KINGS.)

In contrast with the kingdom of Judah is that of Israel.

(1.) "There was no fixed capital and no religious centre.

(2.) The army was often insubordinate.

(3.) The succession was constantly interrupted, so that out of nineteen kings there were no less than nine dynasties, each ushered in by a revolution.

(4.) The authorized priests left the kingdom in a body, and the priesthood established by Jeroboam had no divine sanction and no promise; it was corrupt at its very source." (Maclean's O. T. Hist.)

Nave's Topical Index
1 Kings 12:1
And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
Nave's Topical Index

Israel (27466 Occurrences)
... The whole people of the twelve tribes are called "Israelites," the "children of
Israel" (Joshua 3:17; 7:25; Judges 8:27; Jeremiah 3:21), and the "house of ...
/i/israel.htm - 101k

Israel's (72 Occurrences)
... Multi-Version Concordance Israel's (72 Occurrences). Matthew 10:6 but, instead
of that, go to the lost sheep of Israel's race. (WEY). ...
/i/israel's.htm - 28k

El-elohe-Israel (1 Occurrence)
El-elohe-Israel. Eleloheisrael, El-elohe-Israel. El-el'ohe-Israel .
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia EL-ELOHE-ISRAEL. el ...
/e/el-elohe-israel.htm - 8k

El-el'ohe-Israel (1 Occurrence)
El-el'ohe-Israel. El-elohe-Israel, El-el'ohe-Israel. EleloheIsreal .
Multi-Version Concordance El-el'ohe-Israel (1 Occurrence). ...
/e/el-el'ohe-israel.htm - 6k

Sojourners (37 Occurrences)
... seven days leaven is not found in your houses, for any 'one' eating anything fermented
-- that person hath been cut off from the company of Israel, among the ...
/s/sojourners.htm - 18k

Saveth (36 Occurrences)
... (YLT). Exodus 14:30 and Jehovah saveth Israel in that day out of the hand of the
Egyptians, and Israel seeth the Egyptians dead on the sea-shore, (YLT). ...
/s/saveth.htm - 16k

Home-born (14 Occurrences)
... (ASV JPS). Leviticus 23:42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that
are home-born in Israel shall dwell in booths; (ASV JPS). ...
/h/home-born.htm - 11k

Killeth (23 Occurrences)
... Leviticus 17:3 What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an
ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, (KJV JPS ...
/k/killeth.htm - 13k

Sojourning (35 Occurrences)
... Acts 13:17 the God of this people Israel did choose our fathers, and the people
He did exalt in their sojourning in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm did ...
/s/sojourning.htm - 18k

Sojourneth (27 Occurrences)
... Leviticus 17:8 And unto them thou sayest: Any man of the house of Israel, or of
the sojourners, who sojourneth in your midst, who causeth burnt-offering or ...
/s/sojourneth.htm - 15k

Bible Concordance
Israel (27466 Occurrences)

Israel is used 27466 times in 12 translations.

You can narrow your search using the Advanced Bible Search.



Israel and Palestine

Israel and the End Times

Israel Becoming a State

Israel in the Last Days

Israel Today

Israel, Prophecies Concerning: Captivity of Cyrus Directs the Rebuilding of the Temple

Israel, Prophecies Concerning: Captivity of Nehemiah is Commissioned to Lead the Remainder of the Captivity

Israel, Prophecies Concerning: Captivity of One-Tenth of the People

Israel, Prophecies Concerning: Josiah is Succeeded by Jehoahaz

Israel, Prophecies Concerning: Judah in the Historical Books of First and Second Kings

Israel, Prophecies Concerning: The Nation Composed of the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, Called Judah

Israel, Prophecies Concerning: The Poorest of the People Were Left to Occupy the Country

Israel: (Foreshadowing Circumstances Indicating the Separation): Disagreement After Saul's Death

Israel: (Foreshadowing Circumstances Indicating the Separation): Providential

Israel: (Foreshadowing Circumstances Indicating the Separation): The Rebellion of Sheba

Israel: A Name Given to Jacob

Israel: A Name Given to the Descendants of Jacob, a Nation: Also Called Israelites, and Hebrews

Israel: A Name Given to the Descendants of Jacob, a Nation: Etc

Israel: A Name of the Messiah in Prophecy

Israel: Abide at Kadesh

Israel: Ai Captured

Israel: All Who Were Numbered at Mount Sinai Perished in the Wilderness Except Caleb and Joshua

Israel: are Refused Passage Through the Country of: Edom

Israel: are Scourged With Fiery Serpents

Israel: Army of Syria Invades Israel, But Peacefully Withdraws Through the Tact of the Prophet Elisha

Israel: Arrive at Sinai

Israel: Arrive at the Border of Canaan

Israel: Arrive in the Plains of Moab, at the Fords of the Jordan River

Israel: At the Suggestion of Jethro, Moses' Father-In-Law, They Organize a System of Government

Israel: Borrowed Jewels from the Egyptians

Israel: Children Were Spared when the Firstborn of the Egyptians Were Killed

Israel: Circumcision Observed and the Passover Celebrated

Israel: Commit Idolatry With the People of Moab

Israel: Complain Against Moses and Aaron

Israel: Complain for Lack of Water in Meribah; the Rock is Struck

Israel: Complained for Food

Israel: Complained for Lack of Water at Rephidim

Israel: Complained on Account of the Bitter Water

Israel: Complaining Over the Report

Israel: Conquest of the Land

Israel: Conquest of the Midianites

Israel: Covenant Renewed, Death of Joshua

Israel: Cross the Jordan River

Israel: Defeat the Amalekites

Israel: Defeat the Amorites

Israel: Defeat the Canaanites

Israel: Defeat the Five Amoritish Kings

Israel: Defeat the King of Baasha

Israel: Delivered for Their Idolatry to the King of Mesopotamia During Eight Years

Israel: Divided Into Families, Each of Which had a Chief

Israel: Exempt from the Plagues

Israel: Famine Prevails During the Reign of Ahab

Israel: First Sacrifice offered By, Under the Law

Israel: for the Itinerary, See

Israel: Gifts Consecrated for the Creation of the Tabernacle

Israel: God Withdraws his Presence

Israel: Idolatry of

Israel: Instituted the Passover

Israel: Israel Defeated by the Philistines, and Saul and his Sons are Killed

Israel: Israel, Also Called Samaria, Invaded By, But Defeats, Ben-Hadad, King of Syria

Israel: Jericho Captured

Israel: Joshua Appointed the Leader

Israel: Joshua's Exhortation Immediately Before his Death

Israel: Journey from Rameses to Succoth

Israel: Journey from Succoth to Etham

Israel: Journey to Elim

Israel: Journey to Marah

Israel: Journey to Pi-Hahiroth

Israel: Led by God

Israel: Lived in Egypt for Four-Hundred and Thirty Years

Israel: Lived in Goshen

Israel: Lukewarmness of the Ten Tribes, and Zeal of Judah for David in Absolom's Rebellion

Israel: Made the Journey by Night

Israel: Make a Treaty With the Gibeonites

Israel: March out of the Wilderness

Israel: Men Chosen to Allot the Lands of Canaan Among the Tribes and Families

Israel: Moab Rebels

Israel: Moses Commissioned As the Deliverer

Israel: Moses Dies, and the People Mourn

Israel: Moses' Indignation

Israel: Names of, Seen in John's Vision, on the Gates of the New Jerusalem

Israel: Nations Dread

Israel: Number of, After the Captivity

Israel: Number of, After the Plague

Israel: Number of, at Sinai, by Tribes

Israel: Number of, at the Time of the Exodus

Israel: Number of, Fit for Military Service when They Left Egypt

Israel: Number of, in John's Apocalyptic Vision

Israel: Number of, when David Counted

Israel: Number of, Who Went Into Egypt

Israel: Obduracy of

Israel: Pass Through the Red Sea

Israel: Pattern for the Tabernacle and the Appurtenances, and Forms of Worship to be Observed

Israel: Piety of Those Who Entered Canaan

Israel: Prophecies About the Multitude of

Israel: Prophecies Concerning

Israel: Prophecies of Their Captivity in Eqypt

Israel: Provided With Manna and Quail

Israel: Providentially Cared For

Israel: Punished by a Plague

Israel: Punished by a Plague in Consequence, Twenty-Four Thousand People Die

Israel: Pursued by the Egyptians

Israel: Reaction, and Their Purpose to Enter the Land; are Defeated by the Amalekites

Israel: Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram

Israel: Religious Fidelity During the Life of Joshua

Israel: Remove from Shittim to the Jordan River

Israel: Renew the Covenant

Israel: Renew Their Idolatry

Israel: Return to the Wilderness, where They Remain for Thirty Eight Years

Israel: Return With a Majority Report and a Minority Report

Israel: Revolt Consummated Under Rehoboam, Son and Successor of Solomon

Israel: Sanctify Themselves for Receiving the Law

Israel: Scandal of the Bethlehemite's Concubine

Israel: Second Passover Observed

Israel: Send Twelve Spies to View the Land

Israel: Tables Renewed

Israel: The Anger of the Lord in Consequence

Israel: The City of Samaria Besieged

Israel: The City of Samaria Captured, and the People Carried to Assyria

Israel: The Conflict Between the Two Political Factions

Israel: The Daughters of Zelophehad Sue for an Inheritance

Israel: The Day of Their Deliverance to be a Memorial

Israel: The Death of Aaron

Israel: The Descendants of Levi Were Consecrated to the Rites of Religion

Israel: The Erection of the Tabernacle

Israel: The Judgment of God Upon Them in Consequence of Their Unbelief and Complaining

Israel: The Land Allotted

Israel: The Land Repopulated

Israel: The Law Delivered To

Israel: The Message of God to Them

Israel: The Mourning of, when God Refused to Lead Them

Israel: The Name of the Ten Tribes That Revolted from the House of David: Also Called Jacob

Israel: The Order of Camping Sites and the March

Israel: The Order of the March

Israel: The People Backslide, and are Given Over to the Philistines for Chastisement for Eighteen Years

Israel: The People Numbered for the Allotment of the Land

Israel: The People Receive It and Covenant Obedience to It

Israel: The Remnant That Remained After the Able-Bodied Persons Were Carried Into Captivity Affiliated With the Kingdom of Judah

Israel: The Two Factions are Distinguished As Israel and Judah During David's Reign

Israel: Their Groaning Heard by God

Israel: Two and One-Half Tribes Return from the West Side of the Jordan River

Israel: Under the Judges: Abimelech Foments an Inter-Tribal War

Israel: Under the Judges: Delivered by Deborah, a Prophetess, and Judged

Israel: Under the Judges: Led by Abdon for Eight Years

Israel: Under the Judges: Led by Eli for Forty Years

Israel: Under the Judges: Led by Elon for Ten Years

Israel: Under the Judges: Led by Ibzan for Seven Years

Israel: Under the Judges: Led by Jair for Twenty-Two Years

Israel: Under the Judges: Led by Samson for Twenty Years

Israel: Under the Judges: Led by Tola for Twenty-Three Years

Israel: Under the Judges: People Again do Evil and are Put Under Bonds to the King of Syria for Twenty Years

Israel: Under the Judges: People Turn to Idolatry

Israel: Under the Judges: Public Affairs Administered Four-Hundred and Fifty Years by the Judges

Israel: Under the Judges: Reproved by an Angel for not Casting out the Original Inhabitants

Israel: Under the Judges: Return to Idolatry

Israel: Under the Judges: Seven Years of Bondage to the Midianites; Delivered by Gideon

Israel: Under the Judges: Shamgar Resists a Foray of the Philistines and Delivers Israel

Israel: Under the Judges: Struck Down by the Philistines at Eben-Ezer

Israel: Under the Judges: The Ephraimites Go to War Against Other Tribes

Israel: Under the Judges: The Original Inhabitants not Fully Expelled

Israel: Under the Judges: The People Backslide Again are Chastened by the Philistines for Forty Years

Israel: Under the Judges: They Demand a King

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Absalom's Rebellion

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Amalekites Defeated

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Ammonites Invade Israel, are Defeated

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Conquests of David

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: David Anointed As King

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: David Defeats the Amalekites

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: David Made King

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: David Made King Over all Israel

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Goliath Killed

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Ish-Bosheth Made King

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Philistines Struck Down

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Saul Anointed As King

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Solomon Anointed As King

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Solomon's Death

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: Solomon's Palace Built

Israel: Under the Kings Before the Separation Into Two Kingdoms: The Temple Built

Israel: Urged by the Egyptians to Depart

Israel: War Continued Between Baasha and Asa

Israel: War Continued Between Jeroboam and Abijam

Israel: War Continued Between the Two Kingdoms all the Days of Rehoboam and Jeroboam

Israel: Water Miraculously Supplied from the Rock at Meribah

Israel: Water of, Sweetened

Israel: were Enslaved and Oppressed by the Egyptians

Miscegenation: Israel

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Abijam's Wicked Reign

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Ahaz Changes the Nature of the Altar in the Temple

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Ahaziah Killed by Jehu

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Ahaziah Succeeds Jehoram

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Ahaziah, Also Called Azariah

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Amaziah Reigns, and Judah is Invaded by the King of Israel

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Amon Succeeds Manasseh on the Throne

Prophecies Concerning Israel: And Jehoahaz

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Asa Makes a Treaty With Ben-Hadad, King of Syria, to Make War Against Israel

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Asa's Good Reign

Prophecies Concerning Israel: Athaliah, his Mother, Succeeds Him


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